Frequently Asked Questions for Female Truck Drivers
If you are a woman interested in becoming a truck driver, you may have some questions about the industry. Truck driving has been around for over a century and has always been a male-dominated field. This has created stereotypes about the industry regarding gender. Trucking is seen as a dangerous, dirty, and difficult job that is best suited for men. However, while the trucking industry may be rough around the edges, the steering wheel has no gender. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions for female truck drivers to help you decide if the trucking industry is right for you.
How Many Truck Drivers Are Female?
Great question! Truck driving is a typically male-dominated career. Women now make up about 10% of the truck driving industry, according to Women in Trucking. This is up from last year’s percentage of 7%. Female truck drivers do not make up a larger percentage of the trucking industry, however females truckers drive flatbed trucks, dry van trucks, freight trucks, tanker trucks, and military trucks. The female truck driving population continues to grow as the demand for more truck drivers grows.
The truck driving industry also pays females equal pay to their male counterparts. Truck drivers are paid based upon experience level, routes, cargo, and other factors not related to sex or gender identity. Truck technology has advanced with better visibility or more modern transmissions. Truck drivers are no longer responsible for loading and unloading trucks. These are a few things that have made the trucking industry more accessible to women. Some truck stops now have upgraded facilities with recreation and fitness centers, healthier dining, and hairdryers, and feminine hygiene products in the bathrooms.
The truck driving industry is aware that the profession has always been male-dominated. This history has influenced current hiring practices and has created an unconscious bias toward hiring men rather than women. In recent years, however, the trucking industry is making conscious efforts to hire more women. The need for female truck drivers is one that the trucking industry is responding to head on through targeted advertising. Organizations like Women in Trucking have created job boards and mentorship programs to increase the hiring of more female truck drivers.
Is Truck Driving Harder for Females than Males?
No, absolutely not. There is nothing inherent about truck driving that makes it more suitable for men. There is nothing inherent about females that makes them less capable of a truck driver. In fact, studies have shown that female truck drivers have much to contribute to the trucking industry. Female truck drivers are 20% less likely to be involved in a crash than male truck drivers. Female truck drivers tend to take better care of the truck and cabin, are easier to train, and better with customer service and paperwork.
Ellen Voie, the CEO and founder of Women in Trucking, believes that there is a bright future for inclusivity within the trucking industry. She believes that women must fight “imposter syndrome” and apply for the positions where they feel out of place. She is also working on recruiting more LGBTQ truck drivers.
However, there are certain conditions of the trucking lifestyle that may present female truck drivers with unique challenges. According to USA Today, women describe working conditions as a reason that truck driving may be harder for females. Female truck drivers often encounter sexual predators, sexual harassment from male coworkers, and the responsibility of caring for their families from miles away.
Is Truck Driving a Dangerous Job?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck driving remains one of the deadliest professions in the country. Transportation-related jobs have caused the most on-the-job fatalities year after year. However, the trucking industry is working harder to evolve trucking technology and procedures to make the road safer for male and female truck drivers. Truckers are no longer required to load and unload their cargo. Organizations like Women in Trucking have been created to support female truck drivers in the workplace.
As a female truck driver, there is the possibility of sexual harassment and intimidation in the workplace by male coworkers. There is the danger of traveling alone long distances and often at night. There are also health concerns regarding diet and hygiene. There are, however, ways to best prepare and protect yourself as a female truck driver when you are on the road.
Make sure you plan your drives ahead of time
While some truck stops have been renovated to include better hygiene and dining facilities, many are still very isolated, old, and unclean. This will allow female truck drivers to decide when and where they would like to stop for rest, food, or whatever else. Check the reviews of diners and rest stops when routing your drive.
Always prioritize safety first at rest stops
Make sure you always lock your doors, even when taking a quick break to stretch your legs. Avoid areas with little or no light. It’s best to remain seen and heard, especially at night. Avoid walking in between trailers or in areas where you cannot be seen. If possible, try and park your truck in the front line of trucks at rest stops in a spot that gives you a direct, quick line to walk from the rest stop to your truck.
Prepare your own meals as much as possible
Eating diner food all the time or snacks from vending machines can be very unhealthy and costly. Lots of newer trucking cabins have mini-fridges and tiny kitchens perfect for making quick, accessible meals while on the go. Try packing a cooler before your trips or mapping healthy food options along your route.
Is There a History of Females in Truck Driving?
While truck driving is known to be a male profession, female truck drivers have existed throughout history. Luella Bates the first licensed female truck driver over a century ago, in 1918, during World War l. Lillie Elizabeth Drennan became the first female trucking firm owner in 1928! Rusty Dow became the first female to drive a fully loaded truck across the Alaskan Highway in 1944. Female truck drivers have existed for as long as trucking has existed!
Become a Female Truck Driver at TDI!
No matter what your sex or gender identity is, the instructors at Truck Driver Institute will help you earn your Commercial Driver’s License in as little as three weeks. We’ll prepare you to drive any kind of truck and give our female students the tools necessary to remain safe and healthy in the process. We also provide competitive tuition rates and consistent job placement.