Think you’ve got to be a big, burly man to drive a tractor-trailer? Think again! These days, shippers, trucking companies and freight haulers are paying more and more attention to women. In fact, the American Trucking Associations reports females accounted for nearly 6 percent of U.S. truck drivers last year – up from 4.6 percent in 2010, and industry sources suggest that trend will only continue to rise.
What’s behind the change? Well, trucking companies have come to view women as a previously ignored labor pool that can help ease a growing shortage of drivers. A recent Bloomberg article reported the driver shortfall could reach 400,000 in the next two years. As a result, job recruiting campaigns that focus on women drivers currently are being produced and implemented.
The Trucking Industry’s Growing Reliance on Women TruckersThere’s also another reason for hiring women drivers. They’re proving to be better than men when put behind the wheels of big rigs. According to the COO of transportation provider Werner Enterprises, female drivers are performing better when it comes to accident avoidance, inspections and compliance issues. By the end of this year, he expects women will comprise roughly 10 percent of Werner’s drivers – almost twice the national average. Doing its part, the industry has been making truck stops safer, terminals cleaner, using more automatic transmissions in trucks, and working out schedules that give women guaranteed home time.
The changes not only have increased the number of women who apply--they are also helping retain the female drivers who do join their fleets They’re “driving safer right now. They do a nice job,” Werner Enterprise’s Derek Leathers told Bloomberg, adding that people should expect to see more women driving big rigs in the future. If you’re a woman who wants to be trained as a tractor trailer driver, Fortis offers an open door. The school already has enrolled several qualified female candidates in its Commercial Driving programs.