Most female truck drivers feel safe in their truck cabs, but it’s a different story when it comes to sharing a cab with a male trainer.
In a summer survey by the Women in Trucking Association, 42.5% of respondents said they knew of female drivers who were harassed or assaulted when sharing the cab with a trainer of another gender. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed were female.
The drivers offered their truck cabs an average safety rating of 83%, but the figure dropped to just 51% when it came to rating the safety of women who share a cab with a trainer.
Almost two-thirds (62.5%) of the 436 professional drivers who were surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that a same-gender training program would encourage more women to pursue careers as drivers.
Women continue to be underrepresented in the trucking industry’s workforce, representing just 3.5% of Canadians driving trucks and 7.8% of American truck drivers.
The survey results build on the association’s ongoing calls to encourage fleets to adopt same-gender training policies.
“While having a same-gender trainer isn’t an option in instances involving female drivers, there are also alternatives to help reduce or eliminate issues, such as ensuring that when sleeping arrangements need to be made that one of the parties has the ability to have a paid hotel room available to avoid the need to sleep together in the same cab,” the Women in Trucking Association says.
It also encourages trucking companies to market team driving opportunities with partners.
Other recommendations include equipping trucks with sound-enabled cameras and panic buttons in sleepers, using day cabs and separate lodging for on-the-road training, and using local routes for over-the-road training.