Ellen Voie founded Women In Trucking with the goal to promote the employment of women in this industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and celebrate the successes of its members.
When Liz was six years old her mother sold her into the sex industry with the advice to “smile, look pretty, and do whatever he says if you love me.” For the rest of her childhood, she endured constant abuse until she was able to escape.
Now, Liz shares her story as the Field Trainer at Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), which is a resource to combat human trafficking in the trucking industry. TAT has a presence in both the United States and Canada and offers numerous ways to educate those of us who work in transportation careers.
The Women In Trucking Association strives to be a resource for the trucking industry. This means we spend a great deal of time collecting data from our members. Everything from recruiting and retention to harassment is analyzed and the results are either White Papers, webinars, or benchmarking information.
Late last year we conducted a survey on harassment and over 400 drivers responded. The results were disturbing. Nearly seventy percent of drivers claimed verbal harassment and nearly half said they had been verbally threatened at least once. Shockingly, 57 percent reported receiving unwanted physical advances and six percent claimed they had been raped.
The word turnover in the trucking industry does NOT mean a flakey pastry filled with fruit. Unfortunately, it describes a reality pertaining to the revolving door for our professional drivers. Current estimates place the turnover rate at large carriers at 89 percent. That means a trucking company with five thousand drivers needs to HIRE almost 4,500 drivers EVERY YEAR to maintain their current fleet.
The American Trucking Associations explains turnover as a number that, “accurately measures drivers moving within carriers.” They stress that these drivers aren’t leaving the industry, but just finding a different company.
Recently the Department of Labor held a “Day of Action” to promote safety and address these issues in the trucking industry. Since our inception in 2007, our mission has included the goal to address obstacles that might keep women from entering the trucking industry, or from succeeding in a transportation role. For over fifteen years the Women In Trucking Association has already been addressing the subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault against professional drivers.
Before you read the title and jump to a conclusion, I want to start by saying that I hope you agree that we are all different. It’s not just about gender, but it encompasses so much more, such as age, ethnicity, and both mental and physical attributes.
However, I would also like you to think about why we sometimes continue to treat everyone the same by avoiding conversations that showcase our differences.
One of the goals of the WIT board of directors is to be a resource. This not only includes providing information and data to our members, but it means sharing our mission with people who have the power to create change.
Recently, the Women In Trucking Association has been invited to two White House events to explore ways to bring more women into the trucking industry. This is only the beginning, however, as the recently passed Infrastructure Bill included another opportunity to have a voice in Washington DC.
At a Women In Trucking reception, two drivers sitting next to each other discovered that they worked for the same carrier. As they left the event that evening, they vowed to stay in touch and maintain their newfound friendship. These two women knew that they could learn from each other and lean on each other; they knew the value of networking.
With the new year around the corner, many of us make new year’s resolutions with the goal to improve something in our lives. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds or get more exercise. Those are the two top goals people set for the coming year.
Other resolutions include getting organized, learning a skill or hobby, quitting smoking, spending more time with family friends, traveling, or reading more and spending less money. Those are all great goals, and if you are planning on making positive changes in your life, then make a New Year’s resolution. Continue reading →
For those of us in the trucking industry, we are all aware of the data suggesting that crashes involving commercial trucks are overwhelmingly caused by the non-professional driver. Or, as we like to call them, the four wheelers.
There have been numerous studies about reckless behaviors for automobile drivers, but I recently came across a paper that explored the attitudes of truck drivers to those who aren’t operating a commercial vehicle.
The study interviewed 167 adult men (you read that right, no women were part of the research.) Seventy of the respondents were not truck drivers, but the remainder were employees of a concrete manufacturing company. The research was conducted in Israel, which has very few female drivers. However, I found the data very relevant and wanted to share the results. Continue reading →
My son’s close friend and future business partner ended their relationship when he recently took his own life. They had been buddies for many years and were both passionate about working on their cars together. They were in the early stages of forming a partnership to build a shop to diagnose and fix automotive issues. My son was devasted. Andrew was only 29.
A few days later a good friend of mine lost his young son to suicide. Patrick was a former Marine who had served for five years. When he ended his life, he was employed as a truck driver at the same carrier with his dad. What can you say to someone who is burying a 24-year-old child?