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One Companies Solution to the Driver Shortage: Recruit More Woman


Even in a world full of female attorneys, physicians, and presidential candidates: the trucking industry is still viewed as a profession for men.   Trucking companies want to remove this thought process and the stereotypes that are keeping women from entering the world of commercial driving.  Today, a lower percentage of woman are behind the wheel of a truck then there are construction managers or mechanical engineers. 

When Gay Cooper first started driving trucks over a decade ago, she would have insults yelled at her such as: “Why don’t you go back to the kitchen where you belong?” There are many benefits for women who choose to break through the diesel ceiling and enter a life on the road.    To a certain degree you are your own boss and most of the time you don’t have to deal with any kind of cubical type drama.

A recent article on points out that Ryder Dedicated is working to change the current mindset in the industry and get more woman in the driver’s seat.  For a start, they are working with cab manufacturers in making trucks themselves more adaptable.  This means adjustable seats and pedals for shorter drivers, lower steps for accessing both cabs and freight, and automatic transmissions. The current driver population is now averaging 55 and it is believed that these improvements will also help accommodate an aging work force.

A shifting culture could have a big benefit in offsetting the current wage pressure on trucking companies. There could also be safety benefits: extensive research has shown that women are on average safer drivers than men.  However, the research also shows that woman are less likely to put on their seat belt.   The primary reason being physical discomfort.

The motivation for all of these improvements – Empty Trucks.  The president of Ryder Dedicated, says the decision to cater to women is “absolutely” a response to the driver shortage.  However, the program is still new and Ryder has the same number of female drivers as the industry average.

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