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.