In the face of labor shortages, trucking companies are becoming more proactive than ever about recruiting and training female truck drivers. According to a report published by the American Trucking Association, the female truck driving pool shrank by 10 percent to 177,000 which is just 5.1 percent of the truck driving workforce in 2015.
To begin reversing this trend, carriers such as New Prime Trucking are working to overhaul its training process much more friendly to women truck drivers. Guaranteed practice time on truck driving simulators, female driver liaisons, and shorter trial runs that establish student-instructor compatibility before the required 7,000-mile training run have made it much easier for women to graduate and obtain over the road truck certification.
Truck designer Volvo is also getting involved by spending over a quarter of a million dollars to develop new truck solutions that include modified seats, controls, gearshifts, pedals, WC and showers. “The transport industry has traditionally been designed by men for men. Today, there is an increased interest from women to enter the industry, but the truck is sometimes a barrier,” says Dag Balkmar, one of the researchers involved with the project.
By creating trucks that are “female-friendly,” Volvo hopes to negate the physical barrier to the trucking industry.
An increase in both independent and industry-sponsored professional organizations have laid the groundwork for long-term growth by offering a community and support network that specifically works to equip and empower female truck drivers.
Real Women in Trucking, LadyTruckDrivers.com, and Women in Trucking all provide support, news, and information to female truck drivers of all experience levels. In addition to support, these groups also publish anti-harassment employment guides to assist drivers, instructors, and carriers to establish best practices and deter abusive workplace behaviors and sexual harassment.
If you want to learn more about the use of technology to manage fleet operations and keep your rigs on the road, you can learn more here.