We’ve discussed truck drivers on the blog before, you’ve probably heard of the ongoing debate about how much time they should really be spending behind the wheel between breaks. Now they are in the news for another reason but there doesn’t seem to be much debate about the benefits of this one.
The industry has seen a decline in the amount of available and willing workers over the past couple of years, and women are jumping in to fill the void. Seeing a woman behind the wheel of a big rig used to be a very rare sight but not they make up 5.8 percent of the 3.4 million total truck drivers in this country. Last year they made up 4.6 percent of the total number of truck drivers on the road so numbers have already significantly increased in just a year. The COO for Werner Enterprises Inc., Derek Leathers, says he expects women to make up a tenth of his company’s workforce by the end of 2015. He says females in his company are outpacing the guys in terms of having fewer accidents or compliance issues.
Leathers says his company, which employs about 9,000 truck drivers, is one of the companies that are going to try and aim their recruiting campaigns more towards women as they try to fill a driver shortage. Selling points include making changes to truck stops to make them safer and cleaner, scheduling to guarantee time at home, and larger sleeper cabs.
At Covenant Transportation Group Inc., many women drivers work as a team and some are even mothers and daughters. The CEO of Covenant, David Parker, said his women drivers are attentive and more cautious in the driver’s seat. Swift Transportation Co. COO Richard Stocking says that of his female drivers, almost half drive by themselves.
Maybe women will become an even bigger presence in this specific workforce and if they are raising safety standards when it comes to big trucks that seems like a great thing.