May 5, 2022
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As the driver shortage worsens and carriers look to attract more female drivers to close the gaps, there are many myths about women drivers that persist despite evidence that disproves them.
This is a myth that is pervasive in many industries, not just trucking and transportation. Employers think that women will leave the workforce as soon as they get married and have children. Women leave jobs for the same reasons as men, for the most part. Low pay, substandard benefits, and poor management are far more likely to lead to female driver turnover.
The only physical requirement to become a truck driver is to pass a physical exam. Other than that, size doesn’t matter at all. If the job requires loading and unloading, then obviously physical fitness and strength will come into play, the same as it would if you were hiring men. But there are plenty of trucking jobs that don’t require heavy lifting, and women can fill those roles just as easily as men.
Study after study has shown that women drivers are safer and more conscientious drivers than men. The American Transportation Research Institute showed that women are 71 percent less likely to have a reckless or negligent driving conviction, 56 percent less likely to have a seat belt violation, 58 percent less likely to be convicted of running a stoplight and 59 percent less likely to be convicted of speeding one to 15 miles over the speed limit when compared to men.
Adding women drivers to your fleet is one of the best safety decisions you can make. You may even find that drivers trained by female CDL drivers have better safety records than those trained by men.
There is no denying that there are personal safety risks for female truck drivers. But there are things you can do to help your women drivers stay safe. Offer self-defense classes taught by women in addition to training courses on how to stay safe while driving OTR. Talk to your female drivers about their concerns, and then do what you can to help them feel safer.
Tips like observing normal etiquette rules at truck stops, parking in lighted areas, making eye contact with everyone you meet, and wearing sensible shoes are just a few safety measures that can help keep all drivers safe while away from home.
The truth is that the driver shortage will never get better unless employers start working to attract and retain women drivers. And the reasons many carriers are reluctant to hire women are not backed up by any evidence. Women are safer drivers than men, they are just as committed to their jobs as men, and they can stay safe while on the road.
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