In a bill re-introduced on Feb. 26 by Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and in partnership with the Women In Trucking Association (WIT), a Federal advisory board will be created to identify, report, and address ways to increase the ranks of women in the trucking industry. First introduced in November 2019, then stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, the “Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act” has taken the front seat to create an advisory committee dedicated to identifying, reporting, and addressing ways to increase the ranks of women in the trucking industry. This is vitally important given the essential role of truck drivers in our society and the worsening shortage of professional drivers.
Women In Trucking Association
WIT is a national membership and advocacy group that encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry. It also addresses obstacles for women like discrimination, harassment, and lack of equal opportunities. WIT’s President and CEO, Ellen Voie has long been recognized as a national leader in advocacy for women drivers. She hosts a weekly Saturday show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio, Channel 146. Ms. Voie also serves on Espyr’s Driver Health Advisory Board and in that role gives input to our Fit To Pass health and fitness coaching program. Fit To Pass is an innovative digitally assisted, telephonic coaching program that helps professional drivers be healthy enough to pass their DOT required medical examinations that ensure safety for the traveling public.
“This legislation not only aligns with WIT’s goals, but it has been an important and urgent objective for years, and today we are celebrating this success,” said WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie in an interview with the American Trucker magazine. “Although women have strengthened their presence in the supply chain in the past few years, we know there are still issues that cause women to reject a transportation career. Our goal is to better identify these concerns and address them to create a more diverse industry.”
“Over the past year, we have relied on the essential service the trucking industry provides to transport critical resources to Kansas and across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Moran said in the American Trucker article. “This sensible and bipartisan legislation will lead to new job opportunities for women and promote equality for those who are currently working in the trucking industry.”
Women in the trucking industry
Women are disproportionally underrepresented in the transportation industry. This is despite the fact that women truck drivers have proven to be safer drivers than men! This safety aspect is an important consideration for the traveling public. There are about 500,000 trucking accidents a year and 5,000 deaths. It’s also important to trucking carriers for another reason. Carriers sometime face “ nuclear verdicts”- high awards of civil damages to the survivors or the estates of those who die in passenger vehicle- commercial truck accidents. The awards are sometimes so high as to put carriers out of business.
The disproportionality is stark. Congress has determined that while women comprise 47% of the workforce in the U.S., only 24% work in transportation and warehousing jobs, 6.6% are truck drivers, 12.5% of all workers in truck transportation, and 8% of freight firm owners. “Given the total number of women truck drivers, women are underrepresented in the truck driving workforce, and women truck drivers have been shown to be 20% less likely than male counterparts to be involved in a crash,” the Act stated.
To encourage more women to enter the field of trucking, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will establish and facilitate an advisory board, to be known as the “Women of Trucking Advisory Board,” which will promote organizations and programs that will provide education, training, mentorship, and outreach to women in the trucking industry as well as recruit women into the trucking industry.
The reintroduction of this act reinforced WIT’s mission of bringing gender diversity to the transportation industry, a mission Espyr strongly endorses.
About the Author
Norman Winegar, LCSW, CEAP, NCAC II is the Chief Clinical Officer at Espyr For over 30 years, Norman has practiced in mental health, substance misuse, and EAP settings. He has also worked in leadership positions in both public and private sector behavioral health organizations. An author of four books, he is frequently called on for presentations and as a panelist to share his expertise and experience as a mental health professional.
For over 30 years Espyr, has provided innovative mental health solutions – solutions like our AI powered chatbot, TESS – to organizations operating under some of the most challenging conditions. Espyr’s portfolio of customized counseling, coaching and consulting solutions help people and organizations achieve their full potential by providing mental health support and driving positive behavioral change. Fit To Pass is an innovative digitally assisted, telephonic coaching program that helps professional drivers be healthy enough to pass their DOT required medical examinations that ensure safety for the traveling public. For more information on how Espyr can help your organization, call Espyr at 888-570-3479 or click here.
Women in Trucking Get Federal Support
March 10, 2021