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Survey explores top six challenges faced by women truck drivers

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The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a new study on the unique challenges faced by women truck drivers.

The results of the study “Identifying and Mitigating the Challenges Faced by Women Truck Drivers” were released by the ATRI on June 18, 2024.

The ATRI surveyed both male and female truck drivers on key workplace problems that they experience on the job, then identified the following six core challenges for women truck drivers:

ChallengeIssues
1. Negative Industry Image and Perception1. Inequitable social norms
2. Misuse of social media
3. Lack of younger drivers and aging workforce
2. Unable to Complete Truck Driver Training1. Inability to pay for training
2. Lack of driving skills, ability, or knowledge 3. No or limited access to childcare
4. Excessive travel to and from school
3. Unsatisfactory Motor Carrier Company Culture1. Unclear and inconsistent communication with drivers
2. Absence of recognition and appreciation initiatives
4. Inability to Acclimate to the OTR Driver Lifestyle1. Insufficient home-time
2. Inability to establish and sustain healthy habits
5. Limited Parking and Restroom Facility Access1. Shortage of available safe parking
2. Lack of clean restrooms
6. Excessive Gender Harassment and Discrimination1. Discrimination during training
2. Concern over personal safety

Researchers also asked women truck drivers to identify reasons why they believe it’s challenging to be a female in trucking:

  • Attitude toward women / disrespect 31.3%
  • Personal safety 12.6%
  • Restroom access 12.2%
  • Physical abilities 11.6%
  • Not more challenging for women 6.6%
  • Having to prove yourself 5.7%
  • Home-time / children 5.6%
  • Equipment / maintenance 3.2%
  • Hygiene / menstruation 2.9%
  • Other 8.3%

The report suggests several strategies that the trucking industry can implement to try to encourage more women to drive trucks, including “women-specific recruiting and retention initiatives.”

The ATRI report also highlighted reasons why trucking can be a positive career choice for women. Particularly, it pointed to pay parity in the industry. Where most female workers make 84 cents to a male worker’s dollar in the U.S. labor force, female truck drivers earn 99 cents to the dollar of a male truck driver.

“ATRI’s research gives a voice to the thousands of women truck drivers who have found successful and satisfying careers in this industry and encouragement to other women to consider truck driving jobs,” said Emily Plummer, professional driver for Prime Inc. and one of the America’s Road Team Captains. 

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