Ryder working with Women in Trucking on truck ergonomics

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MIAMI, Fla. — Ryder System announced today that it would be teaming up with Women In Trucking, a non-profit organization, in a response to the increasing number of women joining the trucking and transportation industry.

The collaboration of Ryder and Women In Trucking is intended to improve the working and safety conditions for female truck drivers through ergonomic truck cab designs that will help the challenges women face when operating heavy-duty vehicles.

“There are close to 200,000 women truck drivers, and that number is steadily growing,” says Ellen Voie, chief executive officer of Women In Trucking. “Having Ryder’s support, particularly given their strong relationships with top vehicle manufacturers, represents a significant step forward to help the industry attract more female drivers and improve the work environment for the thousands of women who’ve already established careers as professional drivers.”

Ryder, with the help of research conducted by Women In Trucking in partnership with Dr. Jeanette Kersten, assistant professor of the Operations and Management Department for the College of Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisc., has found custom vehicle designs that could better meet the needs of female truck drivers. Ryder claims it will distribute these designs in its fleet and encourage others to consider additional design changes to better suit their female drivers.

The research showed that the average female driver weighed 50 lbs lighter and is six inches shorter than her male counterpart. This physical difference can create issues for female drivers who are operating vehicles designed for men. These issues include female drivers having difficulty getting into their trucks because of the placement of steps and hand rails typically built with men in mind. This makes female drivers more prone to slips and falls on the job.

Some other vehicle changes Ryder is reviewing include adjustable foot pedal height, the height of seat belts, visibility of dash gauges, and automated transmission shift level placement.

Scott Perry, vice-president, supply management for Ryder says these design changes will also help men who are smaller in stature as well as the large number of aged male drivers.

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  • When I read about someone thinking that truck manufacturers and truck leasing companies are being asked to make trucks more ergonomic for women, it seems a little sexist to me.
    I think these improvements should be for DRIVERS .
    When I started driving tractor trailers we didn’t even have power steering or air ride! The first one I drove across the country didn’t even have an engine retarder.
    I was really happy when these became standard in trucks , but it wasn’t because women drivers needed it was to benefit all drivers.
    I am 5’8” and 145 to 150 lbs and met many men drivers who were much smaller.
    I remember being in the same yard where a very young woman about 5’3” 120 lbs was getting her flatbed loaded, one of the guys asked her who she got to help her tighten her straps, she just smiled and took a 6′ piece of pipe out of the storage box and said “Its all about leverage”.
    There are many places where concessions should be made. Left handed workers have to adapt to a right hand dominated world.
    I appreciate all the upgrades (except for DEF) that have been installed on trucks most of are like RVs.
    All drivers need to benefit from upgrades and as long as we keep emphasizing that its needed for women drivers the less favourably we will be looked at.
    I got a really good short term job one time because I accepted that the company only had a “men’s room”. I asked if the door locked , lol.
    Wishing all a safe summer.

    Bev Plummer
    Prof. Driver Ret