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Driver issuesNewsTruckingTrucking Regulation

US senators introduce ‘Women in Trucking’ bill

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to take a formal role in supporting women drivers.

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act, introduced Nov. 14 by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., directs the FMCSA administrator to create a Women of Trucking Advisory Board. The board would be tasked with identifying ways trucking companies, trucking associations and other groups can support women pursuing trucking careers, as well as finding opportunities to enhance training, education and outreach programs exclusive to women.

The legislation, previously reported by FreightWaves as the language was being finalized, would also make the agency responsible for identifying trends that directly or indirectly discourage women from pursuing careers in trucking. The FMCSA administrator would be required to submit a report on the advisory board’s findings and recommendations to both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

“As the trucking industry continues to face a driver shortage, we need to examine new ways to recruit and retain drivers that are delivering Kansas goods across the country,” Moran said. “Because women are substantially underrepresented in the trucking industry, Congress should explore every opportunity to encourage and support the pursuit of careers in trucking by women. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan and sensible bill with Sen. Baldwin that will lead to new job opportunities for women and increase equality for women already in the trucking industry.”

The Women in Trucking Association and American Trucking Associations (ATA) support the legislation.

“By creating an advisory board to utilize the expertise and resources of the [FMCSA] and the members of the board, we can increase the opportunities for women as drivers, technicians, owners, trainers and in other relevant career roles,” said Women in Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie.

In a letter to the bill’s sponsors, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear wrote that the legislation “brings important attention and focus to the advancement of female representation and participation in trucking.”

The bill highlights data showing that while women make up 47% of the U.S. labor force, they represent only about 7% of drivers, and that female drivers have been shown to be 20% less likely than men to be involved in a crash. 

The FMCSA in July announced plans to assess the prevalence of crimes against women and minority truckers in the United States, an effort 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.

118 Comments

  1. This is the same government that has passed legislation saying that women are equal to men. I agree that they are so let them be equal

  2. This is getting to be be equal rights remember do they don’t need all this crap you’re gonna offer them

  3. Neither party was mentioned in my comment. ‘Obama era’ is only being used simply as an adjective. Guess you missed that. Learn not to jump the gun and be so assumptious. I vote whichever side makes sense, which often is never. My politics are underrepresented and often times dont relate to either side. In case you missed it though, a lot of mega carriers desperately need people and this bill and the one allowing 18 year olds and up to drive is a way to get more. Dont know if you got that bc of only looking for bias politics in the comments.

  4. I am a female truck driver, who has been driving semi trucks for nearly 9 years. I’ve driven dry van, refrigerated and flatbed and can say definitively that women are just as capable of doing the job in the exact manner as men. I am accident free, and have over a million miles under my belt. As a current flatbed driver, the only thing that has bothered me in this field is that of sexual harassment. In fact, I was subject to a sexual assault (near rape) incident at of of my trucking jobs by a fellow company driver. Trucking isn’t glamorous and is quite understandable for women to not pursue this career. Women have to deal with ‘cat calling’ and sexual advances In this field, mainly due to the fact that most male truck drivers are typically single, as holding onto a relationship is quite the endeavor. But as for companies being on the fence about hiring women, or being difficult to get into truck driver is very false. Women are seen just as capable of doing the job as men.

    1. I am a male driver and been trucking 40 years and I agree with you on everything and yes some of the male drivers need to grow up or go home

  5. Funny, you mention only 7% of drivers being women and then mention that women are less likely to be in an accident then a male, but fail to see a correlation for this in the lower numbers. If you consider the percentages women are much more likely to be in an accident. Disingenuous liars. You are going to put companies out of business by increasing their insurance rates, and many more men will be out of work as well. Fools.

  6. I am a male driver and been trucking 40 years and I agree with you on everything and yes some of the male drivers need to grow up or go home

  7. It should be looked for on the way to helping more women get into the trucking industry, the large obstacles truckers face everyday and everynight.
    From the large amount of no legal parking to take federally legally required dot rest breaks to no rest rooms provided for truckers who are at times singled out when they arrive at the shipper or receiver’s with a sign that’s states ” no rest room for driver’s ” truckers face running out of a legal amount of running hours to leave a shipper or receiver once loaded or unloaded and even if there is enough room to park on the shipper or receiver’s property they state ” no parking or sleeping on property ” we want you to take our freight or receive your freight but if we take to long to load it or unload it and you go over your hours of service it’s not our problem! Get off our property in the middle of the night, so you violate your hours or try to use the personal conveyance rule to make it to a safe haven legal truck parking area only to find no parking, it’s full. Everyday truckers are faced with alot of disrespect and fighting laws that they are about to break when they are just trying to get the job done. Please consider why the turn over is so large in this field and you will know why not only women but many people of all different types don’t make it in this industry, why students at times break down and cry 2 weeks out with statement like ” I can’t live like this! ” If your are trying to make it easier for 1 group of people to become truckers you will fail if you don’t take in the problems of truckers across the board. Respectively, 23 years driving everywhere. CB.

  8. Seriously, this equal rights argument is just fundamentally flawed. Assuming the accuracy of the statistic (7%), has anyone ever thought that women might be underrepresented as truck drivers because *nobody* wants the job, and women have greater opportunity elsewhere?

    Our society dictates that men *must* work, and women *may* work. Men who don’t work are bums, and women who don’t work are housewives. So men have to take whatever work they can get, while women get the privilege to refuse to work, if the best work they can find fails to meet their standards.

    I’m fine with equal rights, but only in an environment of equal responsibility. Want access to all jobs in the military? Then sign up for Selective Service. Men who fail to do so between 18 and 25, lose access to federal jobs for the rest of their lives. Women do not. Sexism cuts both ways, and if I were a woman, I’d be insulted that people think I can’t hack it as a trucker without special treatment.

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