In 1929, Lillie Elizabeth Drennan (1897–1974) obtained her CDL classification in Texas. She was the first woman to do so. She not only drove trucks successfully for many years, she also had her own trucking firm, the Drennan Truck Line for almost 24 years. Although she was a woman in a decidedly man’s world facing the derogatory comments of traditional trucking companies hiring practices , she proved that women could operate successfully in this male-dominated profession.
While matters have improved since 1929, or even 1974, the actual number of women who are drivers is between 5.1 and 6 percent. Overall, there are more than 200,000 women drivers with their CDL license. Although a very small percentage, the number is continuing to grow. Trucking firms are beginning to realize the advantages of hiring women, although some of the rationale at this time is based on such factors as:
* High turnover rate in the business
* Aging driver population
* Need for drivers : According to the American Trucking Associations the current short fall amount to 48,000 drivers and is continuing to grow
* Fierce competition
* Improved technology
* Realization of the worth of female drivers
Overall, many trucking companies hiring practices are changing as they recognize the worth of women truck drivers.
Why Female Truck Drivers?
The appropriate answer to this question is “Why not?” Yet, companies are finding excellent reasons for hiring women to drive their rigs. In turn, many women are discovering they love the life and the challenges of driving a rig. Women find trucking opportunities may provide them with better wages and benefits. They can also enjoy the independence that driving brings to them. The interest in and attraction to the occupation is sufficient enough to result in the formation of the National and International Women’s Trucking Association. Other female trucking groups exist including women in Trucking.
Companies, in turn, realize that women can easily reduce the shortage in drivers. Size is not a factor, although being physically able is. Women can handle the stress as easily as men can. Trucking firms have also discovered one specific advantage of hiring women. It turns out women truck drivers may prove to be more beneficial because research indicates they are generally less aggressive and more cautious. This may account for their lower serious accident rate on the road.
Trucking Companies Hiring Women Drivers
Today, women truckers are no longer quite the novelty they once were. While they still form a small minority of the total truck driving population, their numbers are slowly increasing. Trucking firms, because of the need for more drivers, are turning to this underutilized group. For many trucking companies, hiring women may be a convenience, but it is becoming a trending reality for many women who have always sought this type of career.