Women of Trucking Advisory Board addresses harassment, violence against female truckers

Increasing gender diversity has been an internal goal of the truck driving industry in recent years. Truck driving has had historically high rates of male drivers, mechanics, and technicians while the numbers of female drivers, mechanics, and technicians has been low. To address this lack of gender diversity, the Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) was created to better recruit, support, and create safe environments for female drivers.

On Nov. 9, the board held its first meeting. The members of the board, 16 in total, have long histories in the truck driving industry and met to discuss crime prevention. This meeting and its topic were direct results of a recent safety report presented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as reported by Commercial Carrier Journal.

The WOTAB is comprised of female truck driving industry leaders who, all together, have over 80 years of invaluable driving experience and 275 years of experience in other modes of transportation. The board works to increase the number of females in the industry from where it is now at 7%, and to ensure their safety and security.

The Nov. 9 meeting addressed how to increase safety measures in the industry and featured U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of American supply chains, yet at a time when America needs truck drivers more than ever and can’t afford to leave any talent on the table, women are still vastly underrepresented in the industry,” Buttigieg said. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in the workplace, and we’re grateful to this first Women of Trucking Advisory Board for helping address safety and other industry challenges to ensure these good, vital careers are accessible to all.”

The safety report the inaugural WOTAB meeting was set to discuss was titled Crime Prevention for Truckers and was organized by the FMCSA. The report was intended to focus on minorities in the truck driving industry, including women, and the subsequent harassment, threats, and physical assaults they face.

The study uncovered that females in the industry are exposed to more instances of sexual harassment than males in the industry are. It also revealed that in many circumstances instances of sexual harassment and assault are not reported for fear that nothing will be done.

The WOTAB plans to use the data collected from this report to frame discussions on increased safety measures.

“The survey information will contribute to better understanding obstacles to joining the industry, and to implementing best practices moving forward,” said Robin Hutcheson, FMCSA administrator. “Addressing the results and recommendations of the study will be the first of many opportunities for WOTAB to make an impact.”