Why Women Truck Drivers are on the Rise

Strong Tie Insurance March 3, 2020 StrongtieInsurance

According to the American Trucking Industry, the number of female truck drivers has increased by almost 70%. With an increasing need for truckers, it is the perfect time for women to get behind the wheel of a big rig. For anyone interested in making the jump into the trucking industry, it means more than just filling out an application. There are specialized licenses, training, and commercial truck insurance to consider, as well. There are many opportunities, and women are filling those much-needed roles.

It’s a wide-open road, and everyone is welcome to get involved.

A Need for New Truck Drivers

There is an increasing need for truck drivers across the U.S. The American Trucking Association estimated a shortage of nearly 175,000 drivers by 2024. Replacing these drivers is of paramount concern across multiple industries.

One of the first reasons we’re seeing openings in the workforce is the large number of truck drivers reaching the age of retirement. With so many empty seats left, there aren’t enough qualified drivers ready to take over.

Another element to consider is the overall health of the economy. Factories are producing more goods, construction companies are building more houses, and people are buying more of their favorite products. This requires more trucks on the road to ensure everyone has the materials they need.

And the advent of online shopping with the promise of a quick delivery means a more significant number of distribution hubs. More drivers are needed to make short hauls from centers to stores as well as long haulers to move items from manufacturers to distributors.

Even in moments when the economy is stale or slow, it can’t pick up without plenty of trucks on the road. Truck drivers are often the unsung heroes of getting an economy moving. Not only do truckers keep much-needed materials moving, they also help bolster other industries like fuel stations, maintenance workers, and commercial truck insurance carriers

A Change in Culture

One of the reasons that has led to more women taking trucking jobs involves a change in culture. While men still make up over 90% of the truck driver force, that number is drastically changing every day.

Historically, social pressure kept women from wanting to work in the trucking industry. Besides having a reputation for being a “man’s profession,” women were pressured to raise children. Spending days or weeks at a time on the road was unappealing or even unsafe.

Social stigma regarding women working are fading away fast. On top of that, there are more short-haul jobs available than there ever were before. Men and women alike who don’t want to spend days on the road are attracted to these shorter routes. From dry van routes to port and rail driving jobs, there are more options now than ever for truckers who want to maintain regular social and family commitments.

A Change in Technology

Unlike the days of trucking past, new technology makes driving a commercial vehicle easier than ever. Trucks are built with better visibility and more modern safety features. Some commercial vehicles are now being equipped with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and more. And while these safety features make driving a big rig easier, it doesn’t replace diligence and focus on the wheel. We’re also seeing trucks with better transmissions that aren’t as challenging for new drivers. Combine all of these modern enhancements, and you get a truck that is more attractive to drive. Truckers are also seeing lower commercial trucking insurance costs due to their safer equipment.

Technology has also reduced the amount of loading and unloading work that is expected by drivers. Truck drivers can also enjoy more modern truck stops that have fitness rooms, healthier dining options, and private showers.

Some Things Haven’t Changed

While we are seeing a change in culture, there are some things that haven’t made the progress female truckers would like to see. According to a survey completed by the Women in Trucking Association, women drivers averaged a four point four out of ten when asked how safe they felt on the job.

Women also tend to report incidents of sexism and sexual harassment on the road, at deliveries, and at truck stops. This has led many women to take extra safety precautions. For example, many female truckers buckle their seat belts in a way that prevents the door from being opened while they sleep. Others stay away from parking in poorly lit truck stops overnight.

But women truckers do tend to be safer on the road as a whole and many point to their tendency not to take unnecessary risks. There’s also evidence that women get into fewer crashes than men. This makes female drivers more attractive as recruits since they can keep trucking insurance costs down.

Feel safer and more secure behind the wheel.

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Getting Started

Women who want to take advantage of the growing market for trucking jobs have a few steps to take to be ready for the road. There has never been a better time to start a business or sign on with an existing company, but it’s a little more involved than simply filling out an application.

Licensing

Make sure to check your state’s requirements for commercial truckers. You want to get all of the correct licenses and coverage for the type of job you want. Here are some of the most common, although not all will apply to every new trucker:

FMCSA Number and Registration: The first step before you can officially start your company is to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

IRS Form 2290: All trucking owners must fill out the “heavy use tax form” to ensure compliance with IRS policies.

RP Tag and IFTA Decal: Your truck will require an International Registration Plan Tag and an International Fuel Tax Agreement decal. Requirements on obtaining these vary from state to state.

CDL: Anyone who drives for your new company will need to have the appropriate commercial driver’s license, including you.

Get Access to a Truck

When it comes to driving a commercial vehicle, you have a few options. For those looking to start their own business or who have the right capital, owning a truck is a great option. Being an owner-operator means having a little more control, but it also comes with greater expenses.

Leasing is another option for those who want to get started without large down payments, but it can be more expensive in the long run. Some drivers are able to get access to vehicles from their employers.

Find Great Commercial Trucking Insurance

There are a number of factors that go into what kind and how much insurance you’ll need. The best thing to do is to talk to a trucking insurance professional to get an idea of what is required and recommended for the type of work you’ll be doing. You don’t want to take the risk of driving without trucking insurance, so make this one of your major priorities.