According to a recent article women drivers are in demand as a way to close the industry shortage of truckers. Currently the gap is estimated to be about 30,000 drivers according to the American Trucking Association but that is supposed to increase to over 200,000 over the next decade. Women truck drivers make up approximately 5% of all drivers in this historically male dominated field. Increasing that percentage would be a big step in reducing the driver shortage.
One issue that is currently being overcome is that the trucks have historically been designed for men. This means that shorter women drivers have had to settle to work in uncomfortable conditions. A new cab design has been announced after collaboration between Ryder and the Women in Trucking Association. The result includes:
- Adjustable seatbelt shoulder straps
- Easier access to oil and coolant check and fill ports
- New placement of dashboard gauges
- Grab handle height and placement modified
- Hood assistance mechanism
- Lower pull pressures on the locking mechanism for fifth-wheel configurations
- Security systems for the sleeper cab
Since not all men are the same height these modifications will benefit many men as well.
History of Women Drivers
You may be wondering about the history of women truck drivers. The first women to get her commercial driver’s license (CDL) was Lillie McGee Drennen in 1929. She then became the first woman to open her own trucking business. In the 1960s an influx of women pursued a trucking career but they faced many challenges. Unions attempted to keep women from driving and truck stops did not have facilities for women. The women of this time period paved the way for women drivers today.
Advantages of Being a Truck Driver
Men are not genetically programmed to be truck drivers. Therefore truck driving can be a good career for both men and women. Some people do not enjoy being stuck in the same place with the same people day in and out. In addition, inability to see the sun while at work for 8-10 hours a day often leads to job dis-satisfaction and even depression. As a truck driver you will not be forced to interact with the same individuals every day. You will essentially have “office windows” that provide a constantly changing view. If you enjoy travel you have the possibility of getting paid to see numerous travel destinations. In addition, in recent years companies have provided drivers more time at home allowing them to spend time with families as well as being successful workers.
For many drivers trucking offers them the opportunity to make a good salary. Some choose not to maintain a residence since they are on the road frequently and therefore don’t have the housing expenses of the typical American. Therefore they can save a significant amount of the money they earn. Some truck drivers have expressed that they became drivers out of necessity due to the recent economic downturn and have found a career they love.
Tips for Women Drivers
Issues that women truck drivers faced in the 60s have mostly been resolved. Current drivers indicate they are satisfied with their job choice. Although sometimes they encounter a driver that doesn’t believe women should be driving a truck, the majority of drivers are welcoming. If you encounter an inappropriate comment on the CB radio just keep a tough skin and remember that while that person may be vocal they are in the minority!
If you are a woman who is considering entering a career as a truck driver welcome! You will be joining an exciting and prosperous field. The first step is to make sure you receive proper training. Consider obtaining a commercial driver license (CDL) which will help you increase your training, compensation, and opportunities. Contact us for additional information.