Women in Trucking

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“We want to help women coming into the industry…The equipment is
just one part of it.”

Ellen-Voie-Women-in-TruckingAs part of our Women in Fleet series, we spoke with Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women in Trucking Association, a nonprofit organization that encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry, promotes their accomplishments, and minimizes obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.

Voie founded Women in Trucking in 2007, and is a trucking industry veteran. She has written extensively about trucking and family issues, and authored two books, “Crushing Cones. What you should know before attending truck driving school” and “Marriage in the Long Run.” In July, 2012, she was honored by the White House as a Transportation Innovators Champion of Change.

Women in Trucking represents all areas of the trucking industry: carriers, suppliers, individual professionals, and drivers. And they count some heavy hitters among their partners, including Frito-Lay and Walmart Transportation.

FridayFleet: Why did you start Women in Trucking?
Ellen Voie: I was working at Schneider National as Manager of Recruiting and Retention Programs and one of the groups that I was targeting was women. However, I realized that we weren’t doing a good job attracting or accommodating women as drivers. At the time I was getting my pilot’s license and I belonged to Women in Aviation when it struck me that there was no organization like it for women in the trucking industry. I felt that we needed someone to address the issues that women face, so I founded Women in Trucking.

FF: What’s the percentage of women in trucking?
EV: It’s slightly less than 6%. About three or four years ago during the recessionary period we saw a dip to about 4.8%, but it’s back up now. About half of female drivers are in a team configuration, and our drivers told us that when times were tougher or miles were tight, the men would stay in the truck.

FF: Is there a push for companies to hire more women drivers?
EV: Definitely. It’s rewarding that carriers see the value to hiring more women. They tell me, ‘Ellen, bring me more women.’ They tell me that women are often better with equipment and better with customers. It’s proven that women take fewer risks. And of course, there’s no reason that women can’t do the job. Technology is making it more driver-friendly for everyone so it’s not as physically demanding.

FF: How are the OEMs reacting to more women in the industry?
EV: OEMs are very much interested in accommodating this growing segment. Lenora Hardee was on our original board of directors. She has a Ph.D. in Ergonomics and is the Chief Technical Engineer, Ergonomics and Driver Accommodation at Navistar, in charge of designing the interiors of truck cabs. They would measure women at trade shows, and then give them a free membership to Women in Trucking. Volvo has also been very progressive. They brought me down to their facility in North Carolina to talk to their engineers and marketing people about some of the issues, such as how we can accommodate women in the industry.

FF: Do you see an increase in women attending truck driving schools?
EV: Very much so. There is a greater interest and more women are applying. And we’re getting more emails asking what it takes to go to truck driving school. In Crushing Cones I talk about selecting a school and the skills you need: shifting patterns, pre-trip inspection. We want to help women coming into the industry and more important, we want to prepare them. The equipment is just one part of it. They also need to understand what they may encounter once they get out on the road, including dealing with other drivers.

FF: You talk about spec’ing for and by women truck drivers. Tell me more about that.
Donlen-Women-in-Trucking-GraphicEV: Women are often owner-operators, whether they drive, just ride along, or don’t go on the road at all. So they are involved in spec’ing the trucks, and tend to look at different things than men. They look for fuel economy and creature comforts; things like sleeping and living in the cab. OEMs are becoming more aware of the influence of women who are spec’ing trucks. And fleets need to think about spec’ing trucks with women drivers in mind. Women tend to be shorter, weigh less, and have other differences, such as shorter arms and wider hips.

FF: Do you see a trend to switch to automatic transmissions?
EV: That’s a good question. Carriers are going to more automatic transmissions for a number of reasons, not only because of more women in the industry. First, the coming generation hasn’t learned how to shift. Shifting can be intimidating – whether male orfemale. It’s also a safety issue. If you can focus on what’s going on around you instead of trying to hit that 6th gear the job is easier and safer. Safety is a huge issue in the trucking industry right now.

FF: So what do you see is the biggest trend in truck design?
EV: Technology is the word. How ergonomic can you get the truck? How safe is the truck? There is more talk of putting air bags in commercial trucks. The more technology that can be put in the trucks, the better off everyone is.

If you’d like more information about Women in Trucking, visit their website >http://www.womenintrucking.org/index.cfm

Colorado Flooding

Our thoughts go out to everyone in Colorado affected by the recent flooding. Should you have vehicles in the area and need assistance, our advisors can help. Hertz has moved about 250 additional rental vehicles into Colorado and is assisting with Red Cross/FEMA rentals.

“The typical rule of thumb is that any vehicle that has been in a flood where the water level has reached the bottom of the seats is a strong candidate to be a total loss,” says Dave Lodding, Executive Vice President of Fleet Management Services. “This is due to the long-term effects of water damage on the electrical system and electrical components, not to mention mold and mildew issues if an attempted repair does not include replacement of affected items. Water damage that has reached the dash level is an automatic total loss.”

RELATED: Navigating Floods, and Tips to Pass on to Your Drivers

Please contact your Donlen account manager if you have questions and/or need assistance.

FleetWeb® Tips

donlen-fleetweb-seemenu-units-on-leaseSee a U.S. geographical snapshot of your Donlen leased vehicles in FleetWeb.

  1. Click “Show icons” link and then click “See” icon.
  2. Click “+” on the General tab.
  3. Click “Units on Lease” and click “Submit.”

Hertz Value Lease® Deal of the Week

donlen-hertz-value-lease-toyota-camry-12122013 Toyota Camry LE*

  • Estimated Mileage: 11,360
  • Exterior Color: Gray
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $17,400

*Representative of available vehicles. Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease.

Driver’s Corner

Picture this: You’re driving in a storm and there are flood warnings on the radio. So far, it’s only heavy rain, but you come across a bridge that looks to be covered in water. Your destination is right across that bridge; it doesn’t look too bad. Go or turn back? If you said “go” you could put yourself at risk of being swept into the water. Never attempt to cross a water-covered bridge during a flood warning. Turning back may seem inconvenient, but it could save your life.

And finally…

And finally, did you ever stop to think that every product you use, every morsel of food you eat, and everything you purchase is probably at some point transported by a truck? The trucking industry is huge: It collects $650B in annual revenue, pays $35B in federal, state, and highway use taxes per year, and is expected to grow 21% over the next 10 years. The total distance traveled in highway miles per year: 93,512,000,000. That’s more than 195,000 round trips to the moon! (For more stats, check out this cool infographic.) This week is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, honoring professional drivers for their hard work every day of the year. So thank a truck driver next time you see her (or him).

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Have questions or comments? We want to hear from you.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on September 20, 2013

About Donlen
Donlen is the industry’s leading provider of integrated financing and management solutions for corporate fleets. Utilizing a highly consultative and strategic approach, Donlen helps fleets reduce cost, improve utilization, and increase driver safety and productivity. Donlen’s innovation has been honored with the Computerworld 2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Development, the 2012 and 2013 InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America, and recipient of the 2013 CIO 100. Their workplace excellence has been recognized on the IAOP The Global Outsourcing 100® list for seven of the last eight years, and as one of the 101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago each year from 2007-2012. Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Northbrook, IL, Donlen is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE: HTZ). For more information about Donlen, visit www.donlen.com.