Common concerns from female truck drivers mainly focus on safety and respect, according to various surveys on the issue.
A recent survey published by JW Surety Bonds shows that only 68% of female truckers feel safe when working compared to 78% of male drivers, reports CCJ.
Though fewer women feel safe than men when working, that number changes when women stop for sleep. The survey reveals that 89% of female drivers feel safe when sleeping in their truck compared to 11% who do not.
“If safety is a big concern for a woman considering getting into the trucking industry, hearing that so many women feel safe on the job must be a huge relief,” said Madeline Weirman, reactive data lead at Fractl, the research team that conducted the study.
However as Max Farrell, CEO at WorkHound pointed out, the notion of safety can change yet again when women work directly with men, particularly during training.
“In the past we’ve seen feedback from women that were with a male trainer and they didn’t feel safe,” Farrell said. “And if you’re with a trainer, you’re with them every day. Very rarely do you have a space where you’re separate. And so if you’re feeling unsafe, it’s very awkward to call and say, ‘I don’t feel safe’.”
To help avoid uncomfortable situations, Farrell recommended that fleets form an effective “communication strategy with their workforce.”
A survey conducted by Women in Trucking shows that safety and home time tied as top concerns among female drivers.
While 55% of female respondents agreed or strongly agreed that trucking is a safe industry, less than 18% felt safe while working.
The survey goes on to point out that “that gender bias and harassment remains a significant concern for female drivers, that’s deserving of all stakeholders’ time and attention.”
Following several years of anonymous driver surveys, Farrell has a positive outlook regarding fleet willingness to address concerns of female drivers. However, life on the road doesn’t always play nice with fleet and driver expectations.
“I’m very optimistic about women in the industry,” Farrell said. “That segment is increasing as far as the percentage of the total population of drivers out there. We’re seeing really great numbers out there. Companies are making an active commitment but the company can only do so much. It’s then all the variables out there like the truck stops, the rest stops, the locations where they’re picking up or dropping off a load. Those are the other variables at play.”
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