First published by WIT
The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has published a new whitepaper, “Same-Gender Training Policy: Recruiting and Protecting Female Drivers.” Same-gender cab sharing during over-the-road training has been a primary concern of current and prospective female truck drivers.
After receiving their commercial driver’s license, aspiring professional drivers typically accompany an experienced one on their route to become more confident, safer, and capable on the road, according to Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT. This not only could mean working exclusively with a stranger in close quarters for long hours during the day, it also means the potential of needing to sleep in the same vehicle, said Voie.
Some of the whitepaper outlines perspectives drivers hold specifically on same-gender training and its impact on female drivers in the industry. WIT conducted a driver safety and harassment survey to gain an understanding from professional drivers about their perceptions and experiences involving safety and harassment in the North American trucking industry. More than 430 professional drivers completed the survey from July through Sept. 2021.
Given that 46 percent of drivers in the WIT study indicated that they have had an unwanted physical advance made toward them at least once and another 52 percent know of someone who had an unwanted physical advance made toward them, it is understandable why the prospect of cab sharing with a member of the opposite gender concerns many women, said Voie.
The WIT survey found that while most drivers believe their truck cabs are safe, they also indicated knowledge of women falling victim to harassment or assault while sharing a cabin. “The Women In Trucking Association continues to press hard for companies to develop corporate policies that could help significantly shift this trajectory,” said Voie. There are a number of corporate policy recommendations on same-gender training that Voie recommends:
- Adopt a same-gender training policy that enables female professional drivers to have the option for a same-gender trainer when involved in on-the-road training activities.
- When having a same-gender trainer isn’t an option in instances involving female drivers, develop 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.
- Encourage driving teams where partners who are friends, spouses, or in a committed relationship alternate their time behind the wheel on the same route.
- Upgrade in-cab safety technology where trucks are equipped with sound-enabled in-cab cameras and panic/emergency buttons in the sleeper and cabin areas.
This whitepaper is the first of a series focused on safety and harassment issues for women in the transportation industry. To download a copy of the whitepaper, click here: womenintrucking.org/safety-harassment-series
To download the following charts, click here:
- Trucking is a safe industry for women
- Aware of drivers who have experienced harassment or assault when sharing cab with opposite gender trainer
- Implementation of Same-Gender Training would encourage more women as drivers
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