Why was the Women in Trucking Workforce bill reintroduced?
The truck driver shortage is an increasingly significant problem for both carriers and shippers. This problem has escalated over the past year due to pandemic shopping/e-commerce, today’s much-lower unemployment rates, and existing truck drivers’ ongoing retirement.
Meanwhile, legislators have been taking a much closer look at the role women can play in helping the trucking industry fill empty driver slots.
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), women represent less than 7% of truck drivers and about 25% of transportation and warehousing jobs. For its part, the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) notes that women make up 10% of truck drivers.
What’s in the reintroduced Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act?
Initially introduced in 2019, the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act did not move forward. It proposed a board that would review and report on policies and programs to provide education, training, mentorship, or outreach and recruit, retain or advance women in the industry.
But a group of lawmakers recently reintroduced the legislation.
Under the reintroduced bill:
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administrator would establish a Women of Trucking Advisory board to identify trends that discourage women from entering the industry and promote organizations that provide training and mentorship programs. Composed of no fewer than seven members, the board would also help create opportunities for women in the trucking industry and consider any obstacles minority groups might face and any unique safety risks the trucking industry might present.
- The board would be mandated to file a report to the FMCSA administrator two years after it begins operating, highlighting any findings and recommendations for companies, associations, institutions, and other organizations.
- After the advisory board files the report with the recommendations, FMCSA has one year to submit a message to the transportation committees in the House and Senate detailing the strategies recommended by the board and his/her actions to adopt those strategies.
Women are indeed a more prominent presence at the table now. FMCSA safety groups include four WIT members. And WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie will serve on the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, which has a record number of women members in 2021. Three members of WIT’s Image Team will serve on the Driver Subcommittee.
Mobile tools aid truck drivers
The truck driver shortage is real and worsens as more drivers retire and demand pay increases. Helping women enter the trucking workforce is an intelligent thing to do. Using mobile tools that help drivers improve communication, streamline settlement, and manage preferences helps to improve the job that truckers perform.