New FMCSA advisory board focuses on harassment, violence against women truckers

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Nov. 11, 2022:

Women of Trucking Advisory Board holds inaugural meeting

The first meeting of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) was held Wednesday, Nov. 9, where members discussed crime prevention for female truck drivers and the results of a new FMCSA report on driver safety.

The WOTAB 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 drivers and strengthening the trucking industry as a whole.

Collectively, WOTAB members have more than 80 years of driving experience with trucks, motorcoaches and ports and 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 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 conducted its survey, Crime Prevention for Truckers, to better understand the nature and prevalence of harassment and assaults against truckers, specifically women and minorities. 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. Additionally, roughly half of the harassment incidents go unreported due to concerns that reporting the incident would not make a difference, the study found.

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The WOTAB will use the results of this survey and other data, as well as the firsthand experience of its members, to make recommendations and discuss the next steps regarding the findings on harassment, assaults, and crimes being committed against women truckers.

“The survey information will contribute to better understanding obstacles to joining the industry, and to implementing best practices moving forward,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “Addressing the results and recommendations of the study will be the first of many opportunities for WOTAB to make an impact.”

[Related: Women leaders in trucking discuss recruiting, retaining and empowering the next generation of women]

Top military veteran rookie trucker public voting closes today

Public voting for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award, dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver, ends Friday, Nov. 11.

The program recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

Fastport, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program and Kenworth have partnered to support the program.

For the seventh straight year, Kenworth is providing the top award -- a T680 Next Generation. The T680 Next Gen is equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the Paccar Powertrain featuring the Paccar MX-13 engine, Paccar TX-12 automated transmission and Paccar DX-40 tandem rear axles

The general public is invited to cast their vote online on the Transition Trucking website. To assist in that process, a short video on each driver is also available on the voting page. The public voting is an important determiner for the Selection Committee as they make their ultimate choice for the next Transition Trucking award winner 

The winner will be announced on Dec. 16 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.