WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hosted the inaugural meeting of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) on Nov. 8, where members discussed the results of a new FMCSA report on driver safety.
FMCSA conducted its survey, Crime Prevention for Truckers, to better understand the nature and prevalence of harassment and assaults against truckers, specifically women and minorities, according to a news release.
The report details harassment, threats of harm or actual physical harm perpetrated against truckers, their possessions, vehicles or cargo.
The survey found that female truck drivers are exposed to more sexual harassment at their companies or by their trainers than their male counterparts. In addition, roughly half of the harassment incidents go unreported due to concerns that reporting the incident would not make a difference.
WOTAB will use the results of this survey and other data, as well as the firsthand experience of its 16 women members, to make recommendations and discuss the next steps regarding the findings on harassment, assaults and crimes being committed against women truckers, the news release stated.
The new Advisory Board, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is composed of 16 founding members with diverse backgrounds in the industry, and “is focused on recruiting, retaining, supporting and ensuring the safety of women commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and strengthening the trucking industry as a whole,” according to the news release.
Collectively, WOTAB members have more than 80 years of driving experience with trucks, motorcoaches and ports, along with more than 275 years in trucking and other modes of transportation.
Currently, women make up just 7% of all truck drivers on the road today.
“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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who kicked off the first Women of Trucking Advisory Board meeting. “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.”
FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson said that safety is her agency’s number one priority, adding that all truckers should feel safe in the industry.
“It’s so important to have a diverse board of women trucking professionals who will help make the industry safer and a more appealing career option not only to women but to everyone who has been underrepresented in the industry,” she noted. “The survey information will contribute to better understanding obstacles to joining the industry, and to implementing best practices moving forward. Addressing the results and recommendations of the study will be the first of many opportunities for WOTAB to make an impact.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.