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DOT Promoting More Women to enter Trucking Industry


A recent article posted in the stated that the Department of Transportation was promoting women to enter a career as a professional CDL driver:  “US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants to put more women behind the wheels of big-rigs.”

However, after researching, we have found that the programs being funded are targeted for women at the college graduate level.Ray LaHood

According to The announcement, “U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed an agreement with the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International to encourage women to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math – while pursuing careers in transportation. This program does not appear to be targeted towards CDL professional truck drivers who are considered “unskilled” labor by the Department of Labor.

Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood announced at a Women’s Small Business Day hosted by the Department of Transportation (DOT), that he would like to see more women in the transportation industry by expanding an existing intern program.

According to a recent press release , the program is one of several internships and fellowship programs offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation for both high school and college age girls. The expanded effort supports President Obama’s mission and the work of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Although the idea of encouraging more women into the transportation industry is to be applauded, the thought of using transportation funds for this, rather than for the repair of roads and bridges or securing more safe truck parking ( such as Jason’s Law, HR 2156 and S970) must be questioned.

Recently we were told by a staffer in the Highways and Transit subcommittee that funding was low and that this is a main reason that Jason’s Law has been sitting in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  So where then, are these funds coming from which are being used to promote more women entering the trucking industry?  I would think that we would be more interested in repairing the roads and protecting our “unskilled women” who are already in the industry driving big trucks.

This does lead up to another problem which should be mentioned:

There is and has been a strong recruitment movement going on via organizations, truck driving schools, trucking companies,  government work force placement programs and  grants and incentives, in order to encourage more women to enter the “unskilled” level of the trucking industry as a CDL driver.

This is a major concern of ours and others alike, as the CDL training going on within trucking companies has not been one to be admired.  Often women are not told what to realistically expect when entering a CDL training program, including the fact that they will be living in a truck for 3 months with a total stranger, the trainer.

Many times the requirements for drivers to be trainers are no more than the “desire for them to be one.”

The fact that there are no strict guidelines set up by many of the companies has caused numerous problems for trainees, including the lack of a way for trainees to safely remove themselves from situations which could either cause emotional stress or even worse, bodily harm.

There has been a tremendous increase in women entering the field of truck driving, and yet the number of actual women drivers has not significantly increased, still sitting at five to six percent of total drivers.  So where are all those increased “numbers of women” entering into trucking  that have been recruited? Why isn’t the increased  figure of women drivers entering matching the number of actual drivers? The main reason is . . . that they do not stay for very long, many not making it past the training process.   This is a clear sign that something is wrong in the way that many trucking companies conduct their CDL training programs.

So I suggest this to everyone promoting the advancement and promotion of women entering the trucking industry: 

Create a program to protect the women that you have already encouraged to enter the industry, before you try to promote more women to come in.

I challenge every organization, company, or government program to create a data base of driver statistics which includes all women they have successfully recruited into the industry as a CDL driver, and then maintain records to follow up with them in order to determine if they are still driving, and if not . . . WHY?

Would this not make more sense?  I for one, would like to know why more and more women are entering the trucking industry, and yet their numbers are not going up?
I believe if you are reading this that you would like to know too.

Related Articles:

Trucking schools and CDL training-Part 2

Trucking Schools and CDL Training – Part 1

R.E.A.L Women In Trucking

© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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3 Responses to DOT Promoting More Women to enter Trucking Industry. - Post a Comment

  1. […] here:  DOT Promoting More Women to enter Trucking Industry | AskTheTrucker Share and […]

  2. Aaron Buice

    Why put so much effort and money into protecting “women drivers”, why not put the effort into protecting all drivers.

    Women already have a serious advantage getting into the field, getting financial assistance when needed, and get to take thier pick of companies to work for.

    Why create a further double standard?

    I am all for women CDL drivers, but, they need to conform to the industry, the industry should not be required to conform to them.

  3. Allen Smith

    Has nothing to do with conforming … it’s about protecting those from criminal acts, in accordance to the law.

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