Robin Hutcheson, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, took the stage at the Accelerate! Conference and Expo, hosted by Women in Trucking Association, on Nov. 14. She said prioritizing women’s imperative role in the trucking industry has been a goal for her throughout her entire career, as reported by Transport Topics.
“I’ve always been working on gender equality, on a personal basis and in the transportation industry, beginning in 1995,” Hutcheson said. “I’m committed to your success. I consider myself a part of that in working with you.”
Hutcheson personally understands the need to bring the invaluable role women play in the industry to the forefront. She said she has often been the only woman in a room and then cited statistics on the lack of gender diversity in the industry. Out of the 57% of roles women occupy across the entire U.S. workforce, only 24% are in the transportation industry with a small 8% working as truck drivers.
Knowing the importance of increasing these numbers, she referred to the newly established FMCSA’s advisory board: Women of Trucking. This board, made up of 16 women who are leaders in the trucking industry, is charged with the responsibility to recruit, hire, and support women in their truck driving careers.
Hutcheson herself, in the 11 months she served with FMCSA, has gotten behind the driver’s wheel, went on a ride-along with a female truck driver and watched a Level 1 inspection from underneath the hood.
She has been growing her understanding of how the FMCSA and its policies affect the industry. With the FMCSA’s central goal being driver safety, “Data shows an experienced driver is a safe driver,” she said that this should transfer to the safety of female truck drivers.
The speech concluded with Hutcheson directly addressing the need for gender equality in the industry.
“[The trucking industry] is a major part of American commerce,” she said. “You deserve our hard work on issues like gender equality.”