Tag Archives: Truck Drivers

How (NOT) to hire women by Ellen Voie

An excerpt from a 1943 transportation magazine has circulated through out the industry.  It has been verified as a true reprint by Snopes, which claims that the author is L.H. Sanders, who wrote the article for Mass Transportation Magazine’s July issue.  The intent was to assist (male) managers in choosing the right women to work in jobs formerly held by men who vacated their positions for military service during WWII.

Although the author seems to be patronizing women, he (or she) was probably not intending to portray females as unmotivated, incapable and fragile as the text appears.  However, the eleven “helpful tips” show us how far we have come in proving our ability to work alongside men in many occupations. Continue reading

E-Filing HVUT Tax Form 2290 – What to Expect From Your Efile Service Provider

Expectation is one thing that no one can live without. It is popularly said that Expectations lead to disappointment, Human brain is ready to accept it but every heart that beats always lives with expectations of some sort. “An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality.” So Genuine expectations are good for a healthy lifestyle and its betterment. A very common word in trucking Industry especially during the months of July & August is HVUT Tax Form 2290. This is one of the taxes imposed on truckers by the IRS. Any vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 lbs or above has to have a Tax Form 2290 filed on it. The most preferred mode of filing is getting it done online. Continue reading

Moving Toward the Mission

The Women In Trucking Association’s primary purpose is to increase the percentage of women in the trucking industry. In an effort to provide exposure to young girls who might not have considered a career in trucking, we initiated a Transportation Patch for the Girl Scouts of America.

In partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the curriculum was designed to provide the girls with insight into the trucking industry. The event was planned for October 13th, which was Columbus Day and there was no school scheduled. Continue reading

There’s an association for that!

Women In Trucking Association is an organization whose mission is to “encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.”

Dictionary.com defines an association as “an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure” or “a connection of ideas…correlation of elements of perception, reasoning, or the like.” Continue reading

Walk through a trade show and see what big hearts are in the trucking industry.

Anyone who thinks the trucking industry has an image problem needs to step up to the challenge and help change it. In fact, at the recent Great American Trucking Show (GATS), there were many opportunities to see how much positive change professional drivers and those who support them initiate.

You might have heard about the ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) Ice Bucket Challenge. Cari Baylor of Baylor Trucking hosted the challenge during the three days of the truck show. The ice and water were quite a contrast to the one hundred plus temperatures in Dallas that week. Many drivers and company and vendor representatives took the challenge and were drenched under the bucket’s cold contents. Continue reading

What does a professional driver love about his or her job?

What attracts someone to the trucking industry?  Is it the freedom of being on the road or is it the above average pay?  Maybe it’s just a last resort for many who are unable to find or keep a job elsewhere.

The Women In Trucking Association, along with University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate students wanted to know the answer to this question.  So, four students in Dr. Jeanette Kersten’s Organizational Development Class conducted research to find out what brings men and women into the trucking industry, as well as what keeps them here. Continue reading

We’re not there yet.

A recent article about FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro, prompted numerous responses, but they weren’t all about the issue itself.  Instead, the topic turned to gender and how the reader felt that Ms. Ferro was not qualified to head the administration because she is a woman.

I checked my calendar and it IS 2014, isn’t it?  Can’t we get beyond the issue of gender?  Apparently, we’re not there yet.  Mr. Smith (obviously a pseudo name) claims “women getting into politics and other issues … are guiding us down, down, down.”
Continue reading

How can you attract and engage your female drivers

If you are a typical trucking company, you have one female driver for every 19 males. This is the national average (around five percent). There are some carriers who enjoy a much higher female driver pool. What are they doing differently?

First, they have a culture that values and appreciates women. Years ago you could walk into a terminal and see more women in the mechanic’s calendars than you did in trucks. There were only men’s restrooms and showers and the few female drivers who entered the lounge were teased mercilessly.

Fortunately, that has changed, but not everywhere. There are some places that haven’t changed the environment and those are the carriers that have a hard time attracting women to the workforce.

Look at the company’s recruiting ads. Do they always show a male driver with his mind on the “wife and kids at home?” One recruiting ad said the company was looking for “a few good mustaches.” Another ad read “take your wife to the big island.” Do they really think women feel included in these recruiting efforts?

Are there women visible in management roles at the carrier? If so, women will feel welcomed and valued by the company when they see more women in leadership roles.

Another thing to think about is your pet policy. For many women, a pet is not only a companion, but a safety feature. A barking dog has scared away more than one predator in a parking lot and many women require a pet friendly company policy.

Following are ways some carriers that have joined Women In Trucking Association as corporate members are engaging their female drivers.

  • 1.     Find a way to bring them together. Host an event or give them all t-shirts that identify them as drivers for your company.
  • 2.     Sign them up as members of Women In Trucking so they can enjoy the benefits as well. They’ll receive invitations to networking events, opportunities for mentoring, a weekly e-newsletter, a lapel pin and membership card and more, for only $10 under the corporate membership.
  • 3.     Send them to the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel held each March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. They’ll receive a red t-shirt and a bag filled with goodies from the sponsors while they enjoy the chocolate fountains and entertainment. Visit salute2women.com for information about the event.
  • 4.     Direct them to the Women In Trucking Association Facebook page where over 5,000 drivers share tips, trials, and successes with one another. The site is monitored by drivers for drivers and the information is current and relevant.
  • 5.     Encourage your current drivers to mentor a newcomer. You can direct them to the Women In Trucking website, or just ask your own drivers to offer support and encouragement to those new to the company.

There are carriers that are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to recruit female drivers because of the benefits women bring. Not just as drivers filling a need, but as well qualified employees who bring a different perspective to the job.

As drivers, women take fewer risks according to Ron Kipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul.” Kipling credits this trait as being related to differences in the level of testosterone between men and women.

Trucking company executives often tell me that women are better at completing their paperwork and often treat their equipment better than their male counterparts. Regarding communication, women are often viewed as being better with customers as well.

As trucks become more driver friendly and the freight is no longer being “fingerprinted” by drivers, the opportunity to become a professional driver extends beyond those who are big, muscular, and mechanically minded. The length of haul is getting shorter and time at home is viewed as crucial in attracting and retaining drivers.

Adding women to the driver pool is not just something we should do to fill a need; it’s something we should be doing because we have an opportunity to utilize under-represented potential.

As carriers, you can attract and retain more women and you should WANT to be increasing your percentage of female drivers. Use these suggestions and maybe you can enjoy more safe and conscientious drivers in your fleet.

Celebrating the women behind the wheel!

Lillie Elizabeth Drennan never had an easy life. She was given up for adoption when she was three weeks old. She was raised by foster parents. Lillie lost much of her hearing when she contracted scarlet fever. She dropped out of school in fifth grade and worked for a telephone company until her hearing impairment made that the job difficult. She married when she was fifteen years old. She gave birth to a son and was a single, divorced mother by the age of 17. She was married and divorced two more times.

Lillie and her second husband, Ernest Drennan, divorced in 1929 and Lillie took over the trucking business she and Earnest had started. It was called the Drennen Truck Line and based in Hempsted, Texas. That same year, the Railroad Commission granted her a commercial truck driver’s license (CDL). They were reluctant to grant her the CDL because of her hearing impairment, but she demanded they look at her driving record and won her right to drive a commercial vehicle.

Although Lillie was a pioneer and paved the way for the next generation of female professional drivers, after 85 years there are still very few women who have followed her into the seat of a tractor-trailer. Today there are fewer than 200,000 women who are professional drivers.

When Lillie drove her first open cab Model T Ford, the job was physically demanding. In addition to general freight, she hauled oilfield equipment and explosives, sometimes for 48 hours at a stretch.

Today’s cabs are more comfortable and ergonomic and the driver doesn’t always handle the freight. No one drives for 48 hours at a time these days and carriers are looking at the driver more as a partner than a means for capacity.

The Salute to Women Behind the Wheel hosted by the Women In Trucking Association was created to honor the female professional drivers who are today’s Lillie Drennan. These women are still a minority and are often viewed as less capable than their male counterparts.

Each March, during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Women In Trucking Association plans a celebration. In addition to bringing in some pretty impressive speakers, such as Anne Ferro (FMCSA), Deborah Hersman (NTSB), and this year, Rebecca Brewster (ATRI), the drivers and their families are treated to music and refreshments. The participants look forward to dipping fruit and snacks into the chocolate fountains. And this year, the 5th anniversary of the Salute, they enjoyed a cake in the shape of a truck.

Sponsors provide the funds to host this event and offer lots of great gifts in the goodie bags each female CDL holder receives. From coffee mugs to insulated coolers, water bottles, and many more gifts geared toward the professional driver’s needs. Exhibitors are on hand to attract the attendees to their companies and products.

Any member of Women In Trucking is invited to attend the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel each year, but only female CDL holders are given the gifts and honored for their service. Each woman wears a red “Salute” t-shirt and a group photo is taken at the end of the celebration.

It’s our way of thanking the women who share the road with men as they deliver our nation’s freight. Although it’s been many years since Lillie Drennan obtained her CDL, it will be many more years before a woman behind the wheel is a common sight.

That’s Women In Trucking’s mission, to encourage the employment of women in the industry, to address obstacles that might keep women from entering (or staying) in this industry and finally, to celebrate their success! That’s the reason for the Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel event in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

If you haven’t seen hundreds of women in their red t-shirts being honored for their service to the trucking industry, please join us when we celebrate at the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel next year!

Article from WIT-Finding common goals

Recently I moved to a more remote area in Wisconsin. I love seeing the wildlife outside my window. I enjoy the turkeys, deer, rabbits, and many kinds of birds.

One especially beautiful male cardinal has become my wake up alarm each morning. He sees his reflection in the window and has determined that the image in the glass is his enemy. He sits on the tree branch and waits for the opportune moment to attack the bird in the window. He gathers his strength and lunges for the image, only to knock his head on the surface before resting on the branch, waiting for the next strike.

I find the process amusing, but I worry about how his little head is sustaining the blows. He can’t seem to take his focus off that red bird he considers is a threat and must be dealt with through physical means.

The cardinal reminds me of many of us in the trucking industry. We become focused on someone or something we consider to be a threat to us and we attack. Usually the attack is verbal, but it’s often because we cannot see things from the other’s perspective.

Drivers often feel their carriers are out to cheat them and some companies create policies to address the mistrust they feel for their drivers. The trucking industry feels under attack from legislators, regulators, and their competitors. We often operate in an atmosphere of suspicion. We think that image in the glass is going to hurt us, when in reality, it’s just a reflection provoking our wrath.

Think about your own situation and how your relationship with others could be more harmonious. Instead of assuming the other person is putting his or her own needs before yours, think about how you would act if you were in the same situation.

Whether you own the truck, drive the truck, or work on the truck, you have one goal in mind. You want to use the truck to earn a decent living, deliver the load for the customer, and get home safely. We should all be able to agree that this is our basic reason for being in the trucking industry.

If you are a driver, you can safely assume your company wants you to deliver the load, make an income, and get home to see your family. How can you work together to make that happen?

You might think your company values profit over their drivers, but if they operated solely with that goal in mind, I doubt any driver would be responding to their recruiting ads these days.

When it comes to your elected and appointed officials, you might feel as if they only care about being re-elected or that their goal is to put you out of business. If you really believe that, you have other issues with your thought process. They are focused on safety on the road, the environment, or whatever the mission their government entity was established to promote. You need to understand their vision and how you fit into that goal. Instead of attacking them, help them better understand the challenges the legislation places on your profession. Try looking out the window from their perspective instead of sitting outside and attacking the glass image, like my cardinal friend.

When I look at a tractor-trailer on the highway, I might see one name on the cab, another on the trailer, and a third name on the container, but I see one driver who is responsible for getting the load to the customer. Just like that one truck, there are so many parts to the trucking industry and so much dissension between the different groups, an outsider would be amazed to see the lack of cooperation while the goal for all involved is the same. Get the load delivered, earn a decent living, and get home safely is the mission.

Don’t be like the cardinal who feels threatened by something he sees, but doesn’t exist. He’s bashing his head for no reason. Stop viewing others as a menace and focus on the industry’s quest to get you home safely with money in your pocket.