CAREER Smart

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How many women who have to make a career change or want to make a change consider becoming a professional truck driver?

As a professional truck driver, there are a lot of benefits:

  • Equal pay
  • Good Income
  • Benefits if a company driver
  • No age discrimination
  • Short Haul, Long Haul, Regional or anything in between
  • Many opportunities
  • Get to see the country
  • Own your own business by becoming an owner-operator

Even with all of these benefits for women, why are we only 6.6% of truck driving professionals?

I pulled this stat from the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act that women are 20% less likely than male counterparts to be involved in a crash. I would imagine every trucking company out here would want women driving for them and taking care of their equipment. The question is how to reach the women who are looking for a job.

What are some of the reasons that women do not consider driving a truck?

  • Traditionally a man’s job
  • Children still at home
  • Spouse not wanting them to drive
  • Being away from home too long
  • Confidence – driving the truck in traffic and backing up
  • The anxiety of driving for hours
  • Stigma/Stereotype of being a truck driver
  • How to get started?
  • Who/Where to ask questions or network
  • Having to drive in adverse conditions
  • Safety Concerns
  • Hygiene concerns

Over my years as a truck driver, I have answered a lot of questions about life out on the road, and they range from ridiculous to over-analyzed. One lady asked me how many places had jacuzzi tubs as she did not think she could live without one. I do not think that trucking was for her. I have talked with men and women, and I am always surprised at how little they know about trucking. Too often, the only consideration is the driving of the truck and not the hours of service (HOS) or all of the regulations we abide by.

How do we get the word out to women that they can drive a truck?

  • Advertise in women’s magazines
  • Attend women’s trade events
  • Write articles about women truck drivers that appear in widely read magazines
  • Use women in advertising for trucking companies
  • Show older women in pictures/articles that have raised their children

While researching on this topic, I found that many of the women truck drivers I have talked to became drivers after the age of 40. Are trucking companies marketing to the wrong age group? What about marketing in magazines such as AARP or RV’ing magazines? The next question, and to me, the hardest question is once we get these women into truck driving, how do we keep them? That is the elephant in the room and the dilemma that needs to be addressed for men as well as women.

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Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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