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NewsTruckingTrucking Regulation

U.S. lawmaker wants to break barriers to women truckers

A Republican Senator from Kansas is considering legislation that would create an advisory board within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) focused exclusively on increasing the ranks of women in trucking.

The “Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act,” being crafted by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, contends that the trucking industry “should explore every opportunity, including driver training and mentorship programs, to encourage and support the pursuit of careers in trucking by women,” according to a draft of the bill obtained by FreightWaves.

The bill’s language appears to be based largely on the “Promoting Women in Aviation Workforce Act,” introduced in 2017 by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois). That legislation was signed into law as part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization in 2018.

Moran’s legislation would require the FMCSA administrator to establish and appoint a five-member “Women in Trucking Advisory Board” within the agency “focused on creating opportunities for women in the trucking industry.” It would be tasked with providing education, training and mentorship, as well as with helping recruit drivers.

The board would include one member each from a major trucking company, a non-profit trucking organization, a trucking business association, an independent owner-operator, and a professional drivers’ association.

In making the case for changes at the regulatory level to improve women’s representation within trucking, the bill asserts that while women make up more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, they are “significantly underrepresented” in the trucking industry.

According to statistics cited in the bill, women hold just 24 percent of all transportation and warehousing jobs and represent only 6 percent of truck drivers. They make up 12.5 percent of all workers in truck transportation, and just 8 percent of company owners.

The bill’s draft language also points out that the total number of women truck drivers is decreasing at a time when they have shown to be safer than men while operating a truck, and 20 percent less likely than men to be involved in a crash.

The new board created within FMCSA would be required to submit a report to the administrator, no later than 18 months after the bill is enacted, that would include coordinating trucking companies, nonprofit organizations and trucking associations to help support women pursuing careers in trucking, as well as enhance training, education and outreach programs exclusive to women.

The Women in Trucking Association has been working with Moran in backing the legislation. “As a nonprofit association, we are happy to see the government supporting our efforts to increase the number of women employed in the trucking industry,” Ellen Voie, the association’s president and CEO, told FreightWaves.

Officials within Moran’s office were not able to provide details of when the bill would be formally introduced.

The FMCSA recently announced plans to assess the prevalence of crimes against women and minority truckers in the United States, an effort that the agency sees as potentially increasing the pool of qualified drivers.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

29 Comments

  1. To say women drivers are safer then men,I would believe that even if there wasn’t a trillion dollar study that says so.But,,,,I would also like to say most drivers were better,more patient,safer drivers before the ELD mandate and to my knowledge the last study done has shown truck accidents have risen since the race the clock mandate.Will the government ever say,,we were wrong and get things back the way they were?Absolutely not!I know Am off track a bit,but when I see something in writing that has to do with trucks and safety,I just ponder on how much more relaxing the job was,over!

    1. YLadies.agreed.You are on track…because when it comes down to it, men and women are not that much different. And this crap they throw at us is nothing more than a tangled web, that created a problem that had nothing to do with the problem they were thinking to address. No one that is making these laws are qualified. The American Trucking Association is nothing more than greedy corporate dogs trying to dominate and control how every one else does their business.
      They want them young and dumb now, because they can brainwash them and make them dependent. It is an absolute push for control. No different than Wal-Mart monopolizing small towns across the country. My friends and family will not shop at Wal-Mart because of how little human regard they have for drivers…

  2. Is this a joke or am I in the twilight zone? There are tons of women truck drivers right now.
    I need federal money to form a committee that focuses on helping woodpeckers peck. I saw a woodpecker yesterday that wasn’t pecking. Damn shame. Who’s behind me on this?

  3. I’ve been a female trucker for 39 years now. I started when there was no women except the few with husbands. It’s great for woman now a days if they make that choice to be out there, alone, confined, working long hours. I wished that I had gone to college and went into another occupation because it is a very isolated way of life. Sure you get to see the country, sure your away from family. I’ve missed out on all that cause of my choice. I’ve missed out on having kids, family. And a whole bunch more. So if you ask me, yes it’s great for women because we are more careful but just remember that when recruiting you also need to teach that it really isn’t all that’s it’s cracked up to be. You will loose out on a lot of things in life. ,It is lonely. Yeah you can have your dog, but then you loose your best friend in the whole world, and sadness and anger comes in. And when your out here as long as i have, i kick myself in the ass for making this decision and missing out alot in life. I now how men feel the same way about being away from family, not being able to watch the kids grow up cause they have to get the load out. The best way to solve all this is to change the way deliveries are set. Everybody gets home for weekends. If the driver has to meet another driver to switch trailers then so be it. 5 hours out, 5 hours in. People just dont want to be gone 3-4 weeks at a time and really they dont need to be. Or drop trailer at warehouse and switch. Let the local drivers take it to customers. And make sure you pay right. These are PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS. We should not be played this cramp pay when we ARE IN one of the most dangerous jobs. Start respecting the drivers with better pay and home time and wha la, you might get good people who’ll be out m-f home weekends and everyone happy. But don’t fool new recruits about how great this is. That’s wrong. It’s very lonely and isolated. Women don’t want to give up ever able to have a family. Neither do men.

    1. Some of men butvnot all of the men is not the same of other men is much as bad as themself it is some good men out there are not the same men with the difference way of acting and know how to treat there women right and respect her and love her from your heart and mind and soul for a good men wouldn’t put another B’s among his women ever it is none of this can’t do like the good one ok we don’t ask to be sexy for something to happen to the women and some of them are not like the other woman they respect there body and some not you look at that ok we are not the same people every women are very different so do men ok

  4. It seems to me, former FedEx Ground driver, that women already have every opportunity to get into Trucking just as men do, I see the problem being that it’s hard to pay your bills while you’re going to Driving School

    1. You have to save money to start anything in your life saving and for me the first time as iook at the online they show you have to pay to start training or exams to ok every five year everything changee ok you have to be prepared for your future ok before you start anything ok

  5. You have to save money to start anything in your life saving and for me the first time as iook at the online they show you have to pay to start training or exams to ok every five year everything changee ok you have to be prepared for your future ok before you start anything ok

  6. Some of men butvnot all of the men is not the same of other men is much as bad as themself it is some good men out there are not the same men with the difference way of acting and know how to treat there women right and respect her and love her from your heart and mind and soul for a good men wouldn’t put another B’s among his women ever it is none of this can’t do like the good one ok we don’t ask to be sexy for something to happen to the women and some of them are not like the other woman they respect there body and some not you look at that ok we are not the same people every women are very different so do men ok

  7. Women are doing just fine in trucking. This is just a ploy for the DO NOTHING chair warmers to get paid for DOING NOTHING. Legislation “requiring the FMCSA to ‘create opportunities for women in trucking'” A 5 member ‘advisory board’ would be needed, (and paid very well for DOING NOTHING, mind you). What “opportunities” don’t women have that men have in trucking now ? This is a BS technique for these people to PRETEND they are doing something. Of course, this is nothing new in government . Everyone knows that ! Job security for government drones is what this is.

  8. It is a tough job. Not only for men, but much more for women. I have been driving for 21 going on 22 years. I have seen a horrible decline in truck stop fare…not healthy real food, frozen overly processed and questionable at best. Truck stops use to be the go too places for good food at affordable prices. Now it is the crappiest food for whatever they can gouge a driver for.
    Not enough roadside stops with facilities, women shouldn’t have to squat on the side of the road like a dog!!
    The pay has not kept up with the cost of living on the road.
    I think women being out here has improved conditions some, but not enough to be chained to a truck 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    Also the intelligence of a lot of the drivers out here is pitiful!! It use to be you could have a little picnic or what not, shine your rims or whatever…but the truck drivers today think nothing of just shitting in a bag or pissing in a cup and putting it on the ground. I can’t imagine who trains these people, but it isn’t about being sanitary or showing class…having respect for others. On the other hand most truck stops are not designed with what our immediate needs are. So most women I know are not going to give up creature comforts for a job that gives a person very little freedom to really live life. It use to not be that way. Trucks were welcome at most malls and shopping centers, restaurants along the road were open to us…but like one restaurant owner told me, they can’t pay their people enough to pick up after the filth so many drivers leave behind.
    That said, shippers and receivers need to respect our time. They know we are coming, they should have the product picked and lined up for when we get there and the same goes for pulling it off. My company will not ever take a Wal-Mart load as they are the rudest and biggest offender of our time and equipment, leaving trash all in the trailers, making us wait well beyond our appointments and sending us out with no hours and no sleep when they cannot justify detaining us any longer.
    So if you want to attract a good strong woman, you will need to adjust many aspects of this field. I have known lots of women who got out of trucking due to a lack of facilities and not being able to get a shower on their schedule.
    Fuel costs for the women owner operators is a big deal. The major corps give trucking companies like Swift and England near 50 cents a gallon discount. They should give their best price to everyone. Period.
    But why do I stay? Because it is what I have done for a quarter of a century. But if I knew it was going to be just corporate and not small business owners like in the past, I wouldn’t have given them one drop of my sweat. I retire in 3 years. I might run one run a month, or I might just stay at home and bake cookies, weed my garden and never look back. It use to be fun. They have regulated it to death. All in the name of safety. And they want to put 18 year olds behind the wheel!! Hypocrites!!
    The uptick in highway crashes is directly related to these corporate trucking training policies on the truck side and cell phones on the general publics end. The lack of responsibility in drivers in cars never ceases to amaze me. So women, you newbies, it is your fight. My generation opened the gate and kicked down the walls…you really need to fine tune it…like would it be too much to put a small sink and fasten down a 10 gallon water bottle so I can brush my teeth in my truck instead of brushing my teeth where 500 women who just wiped their butts have washed their hands? Lots of things… The fight is yours, and it will be a fight, because your well being and you being humanized does not line up with the desired profit margin. Good Luck Ladies.

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