New Research Highlights Issues for Women Truck Drivers


Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

While the trucking industry has been and continues to be male-dominated, recent years have seen many efforts to expand the trucking career to more women. Organizations like Women in Trucking have lobbied for new opportunities in the trucking industry, and the Biden Administration even created a Women Of Trucking Advisory Board to provide recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Despite major steps taken in trucking, there is more to be done to make women truck drivers feel safe and welcome. While the trucking industry may never reach 50:50 parity, the goal should be to have an industry open to anyone who wishes to get behind the wheel, earn a good living, and drive the American economy forward.

To this goal, the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) recently released its new report entitled “Identifying and Mitigating the Challenges Faced by Women Truck Drivers”. This report highlighted several key areas where the trucking industry can do more work to welcome women truck drivers:

Industry Image: The first major issue isn’t necessarily one of concrete policy. The first issue is one of perception. The stereotypes of truck drivers – one of the last surviving blue collar professions with a good wage – may stop both women and men from signing up to drive. Through media coverage and outreach initiatives, it is possible to improve the perception of trucking as a career option for women by showcasing accomplished female role models in the field. To draw in more women, highlight the advantages of having flexible schedules and earning possibilities.

Training School Completion: Financial help and scholarships designed especially for women can reduce entry barriers and improve the percentage of women who complete trucking training schools. Specifically, programs that require drivers to team up may be a barrier for women who only feel safe riding with another woman. Mentorship programs that match novice drivers with seasoned female drivers can help in this area while mentors offer assistance and direction.

Truck Parking Shortages and Restroom Access: Lack of adequate parking is an issue that affects all truck drivers, but this is especially relevant for the safety of women drivers. Trucking companies, state authorities, and businesses must work together to address the lack of safe and accessible truck parking sites. Conditions can be greatly improved by requiring restrooms at all truck stops and encouraging companies to grant truck drivers access to their restrooms.

Discrimination and Gender Harassment: It is imperative to have zero-tolerance policies that prohibit discrimination and gender harassment in the workplace. This is not a case of special treatment. Trucking companies, shippers/receivers, and all other professionals must treat women drivers as equals. These problems can be lessened with the creation of anonymous reporting channels.

Overall, when looking through the ATRI report, it’s clear that the trucking sector can foster a more welcoming atmosphere that draws and keeps female truck drivers by tackling these issues head-on. These advancements help women as well as the expansion and sustainability of the sector as a whole.