Gender Equity for Professional Drivers by Ellen Voie

When you’re a professional driver, the steering wheel doesn’t know whether you’re a man or a woman! That’s something my friend Ingrid reminds me of when I talk about the benefits of being a woman in the trucking industry. You’re paid the same regardless of your gender.

It used to be the case that women made about sixty cents for every dollar a man makes. A recent report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research claims that occupations with the highest median income still show a disparity between the earnings for women.

For example, a female Physician or Surgeon earns (on average) only 71 percent of their male counterparts’ salary. The same is true for Chief Executives, as women early 72 percent of what male CEOs earn. Food preparation and servers, especially in fast food restaurants provide a better income for women than men, as women earn 112 percent of what men earn in the same positions.

Now all lower paying jobs favor women, as agricultural work provides women with 84 percent of the income men earn in the field. Female cooks still earn slightly less than males (95 percent) and female home health care aides receive 98 percent of what their male peers earn.

If you look at recruiting ads looking for professional drivers you will often see the starting pay right in the ad. There’s no asterisk that says, “This pay rate is for men only.” Not only is that illegal, it would be foolish for a carrier to differentiate pay when the level of service is not dependent on the gender of the person behind the wheel.

Does this mean that companies still discriminate in some careers when it comes to gender? Not necessarily, as “correlation is not causation” states Thomas Sowell, Professor of Economics at Cornell University.

In “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” Sowell reminds us that historically, women have worked in areas that did not require the physical strength that was valued in a more industrial and agricultural based era. This was especially evident in countries that valued boys over girls and would even kill newborn girls who were seen as less capable of supporting the family’s economic needs.

As our nation progressed toward a more technology-based environment, the need for physical strength and stamina was diminished and gender based hiring was less significant. However, on average, women still earned less than men while working in the same occupations.

Is the pay difference due to discrimination? Again, not necessarily true according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Christine Stolba in “Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women In America.” The authors site statistics to show that the pay disparity is not due to hiring or salary practices on the part of employers, it’s due to societal issues related to childbearing. In fact, women often earn more than men when they choose to remain childless and pursue a comparable career path.

No one is suggesting that women should earn less because they are capable of having children; the reality is that women often CHOOSE occupations that allow them the flexibility to raise a family. As Sowell states, women often make career choices that allow them to take time to withdraw from full time work or lessen their hours in order to devote time to raising children.

Since women still have the greater responsibility in the home, the ability to put in overtime and work nights and weekends is limited. A Harvard Business Review survey (December 2006) found that women hold less than twenty percent of high-pressure jobs. Women spend less time pursuing a career when they decide to raise a family. Men have the same dilemma, but the reality is that child rearing is still the primary responsibility for women today.

Many women who have chosen to become professional drivers have dealt with the issue of raising children or caring for other family members. It’s a sacrifice to leave them in order to earn a living behind the wheel. Fortunately, in this industry, the pay discrepancy is minimal and carriers hire and pay for your ability to move their freight in a safe manner.

Remember, the steering wheel doesn’t know if the hands guiding it are male or female. Driving a truck is one of the few professions that is truly gender neutral in pay and career choices and will offer even greater opportunities for women in the coming years.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Women in trucking | Tagged , , , Chief Executives, , Economic Facts, , Female Physician, , health care aides, , home health care aides, male counterparts, male peers, Median Income, , , , , , thomas sowell, , , , | Leave a comment

WARNING Kentucky Residents – Lex18 News is a Liberal News Station

I usually do not make my opinions known about certain things on Facebook.

But, today was different. I’m not sure if it is just where I am fed-up with Obama and this whole Osama Bin Laden “story” or if I have just come to the realization that I truly HATE liberals and their asinine beliefs.

Today, Lexington 18 news did a story on Obama and his visit/photo-op tour he is on – at FT. Cambell KY.

Those that know me, know I am very critical of the 0 playing the president. But, that is not what got me started. An obvious liberal-minded follower of Lex18 news on facebook commented, “I wonder where all the nay Sayers are?”

That is a direct flame-bait type comment but Lex18 felt like it was Okay to leave up all-the-while knowing that it would draw the attention of any anti-Obama facebook users. Of course I being the rebel conservative that I am commented, “Here I am – It was just another photo-op.” Lex18 news felt that my anti-Obama comment was some type of a “profanity or use disparaging or offensive terms when referring to other people posting” and banned me and removed my anti-Obama comment.

I guess Lex18 news forgot to look up the definition of Flam-bait. Well, that is alright because I have it right here:

Flame-bait is a message posted to a public Internet discussion group, such as a forum, newsgroup or mailing list, with the intent of provoking an angry response (a “flame”) or argument over a topic the poster often has no real interest in. While flaming can occur as a result of legitimate debates or grievances, flame-bait implies the intentional posting of inflammatory rhetoric or images.

As stated, flaming can stem from a variety of issues, including misunderstandings, frustration, and perceptions of unfairness. One motive (from trolls especially) is the desire for attention and for entertainment derived at the expense of others. Posted flame-bait can provide the poster with a controlled trigger-and-response setting in which to anonymously engage in conflicts and indulge in aggressive behavior without facing the consequences that such behavior might bring in a face-to-face encounter. In other instances, flame-bait may be used to reduce a forum’s use by angering the forum users.

Lex18 needs to post a message on their sites that they are a liberal news site that is biased against conservative views.

Well, it gets better! Instead of removing the flame type comment that started this controversial discussion, they decided to leave the anti-Bush comments on their facebook page, but removed my anti-Obama comments. After banning me from commenting, they added a provoking comment and also allowed another user to comment with another flame comment, and agreed with the flame-bait comment. Talk about being liberal biased.

I see profanity in the image below – but yet Lex18 did not remove that post – most likely because it came from a liberal minded user.

After Lex18 banned my personal account, I signed back in with my TDN account and posted the following message to Lex18 but – you guessed it – they banned my TDN account also.

It’s is a sad day in the U.S. when we don’t have the freedom to express our political views in an open forum without being censored because the public forum administrator is biased. I just thought that all my loyal readers here in Kentucky and all over the U.S. and the world should know that not only are the big news sites like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, etc., etc. all biased to report liberal news only – but little small town news stations like Lex18 are the same way. I urge all people who can view Lex18 news channel to go in search of another source for unbiased news – because you will be continued to be told only the left side of any story or news.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Members of Congress tell DOT to Abolish Cross Border Program with Mexico

Barack Hussein Obama opens border, defies unions, and ignores Congress on the controversial cross-border issue with Mexico. U.S. and Mexican trucks were previously authorized to cross their shared border under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, but the U.S. refused to allow Mexican trucks access amid concerns over their ability to meet U.S. safety and environmental standards.

Again in 1995 the U.S. and Mexico restarted a pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the U.S. delivering loads brought in from Mexico. The U.S. trucks were allowed to do the same in Mexico, but safety and security concerns again spurred the U.S. to bar Mexican trucks from U.S. roadways. 16 years later the safety and security concerns still exist, but Obama agreed to allow the Mexican trucks back into the U.S.

The United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood along with Obama “tout” that this new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico is going to create jobs. But, it does not take a genius to see that by allowing Mexican trucks into the U.S. will cut jobs.

Currently, three trucks and three drivers are used to get goods across the border, Ferrari said. It comes out to about $150 per crossing. Multiplied by the 4.5 million annual truck crossings, the savings generated could exceed $675 million, said Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari.

Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three.” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry in both countries. So again, will someone from Obama’s administration please explain to me how this creates jobs for Americans?

In a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) were joined by a bipartisan group of 42 other lawmakers in urging the Secretary to immediately terminate the cross-border trucking program—first established over a decade ago under NAFTA—that will soon open U.S. roadways to Mexican motor carriers.

“The cross-border trucking program clearly puts foreign interests above our own,” said Congressman Hunter. “It’s bad for the American economy. It’s bad for American truckers and the entire commercial trucking industry. And it’s bad for border security. Simply put, the cross-border trucking program is a straight handout to Mexico at the expense of American jobs, taxpayer dollars and security. Seems like a familiar gesture of the Obama administration – take care of everyone but America.

“On the other hand, Mexican motor carriers are the big winners. They will soon have unrestricted access to U.S. roadways, leaving their American counterparts at a serious disadvantage. Adding insult to injury, American taxpayers will be expected to buy the required Electronic On-Board Recorders for Mexican trucks, while American truckers will need to purchase the same equipment themselves. There is nothing good about this agreement for the U.S., which is why it needs to be terminated immediately.”

The fact that a cross-border program is in any stage of development does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) leadership. “With all the talk about the need for every initiative to create jobs, it’s absolutely shocking,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “The only jobs this ill-conceived idea can create are for non-citizens who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.”

Coupled with the fact that the program would threaten U.S. trucking jobs, Spencer is equally concerned about the safety and security of truckers and U.S. highway users alike. “It’s a pipe dream that the safety and security issues can be resolved, given the general state of disarray or war that exists in Mexico,” he said.

Congressman Lipinski added, “Past inspection failures and gaps in security at the border show that opening our roads to Mexican truck traffic could result in the entry of unsafe vehicles and drivers that pose a threat to the safety of the public.”

Congressman Lipinski said, “Furthermore, inviting trucks from Mexico to freely transport goods throughout the U.S. provides drug traffickers with another potential avenue to exploit at a time when crime and violence in Mexico are on the rise. The fact that the agreement would also require taxpayers to subsidize required equipment for Mexican truckers that American truck operators would have to pay for themselves is yet another reason that it should be rejected.”

Hunter & Lipinski Lead Bipartisan Effort to Terminate Cross-Border Trucking Program
Cross Border Trucking with Mexico – Deal Reached said Obama
More Details on the Cross Border Trucking Deal with Mexico

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Sharing the Roads Safely

Precaution is better than cure.–Edward Coke

Those who earn a living by driving a truck, whether it is a dump truck, a city box truck, or a semi, over the road truck, are commonly called truck drivers in North America, both in Canada and the United States. In New Zealand and Australia, they are called truckies, and lorry drivers in the United Kingdom and in Ireland. No matter what they are called, they all have some things in common: their job is tough, they are often away from home for long stretches, sleeping on the road is hard, and at times they must venture into unsafe neighborhoods.

Of course, the job itself mandates a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle to check for mechanical issues, and the governments of each country regulate the industry with an eye towards the safety of truck drivers and others on the road. There are other precautions that drivers can take to ensure their safety.

Rest area safety: Because of the long hours that drivers are on duty so far from home, finding a safe place to sleep is critical. Never park on the shoulder of a highway or on a freeway ramp, and especially do not rest in the driver’s seat. Many drivers report waking in a panic while attempting to do so, thinking that they’d fallen asleep on the road. Instead, find a public rest area along the highway, or a privately-owned truck stop. Rest areas are typically the most accessible, but they are usually isolated and dark; truck stops on the whole offer more truck parking, better facilities, good lighting, and even cameras to keep away the riff-raff, so they can be the better bet for overnight sleeping.

Safety in bad areas: Some deliveries need to be made in dangerous or secluded areas, and drivers can be targeted for theft of their valuable cargo. New advancements in technology are helpful, as there are now cargo locks which are virtually indestructible, as well as locking mechanisms for kingpins and air brakes. Add these locks to your truck and thieves will think twice before targeting your truck for theft. After all, there are probably easier pickings close by.

Safety on the Road: Lack of sleep, or at least lack of quality sleep, is the biggest problem that faces truckers. Driver fatigue is cited in a high amount of traffic crashes, including those with fatalities, and drivers who have sleep apnea have seven times the risk of being in an accident. Estimates say that as many as 28% of CDL drivers have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can result in sleep-disordered breathing, excessive sleepiness during the day, psycho-motor skill deficits, disruptions in nighttime sleep, and decreases in alertness. All these things are bad news for a driver, obviously. So, if you think you may have sleep apnea, see your doctor and have it checked out. Likely, the doctor will have you lose weight if needed, avoid nicotine, alcohol, and sleep aids, and possibly fit you with a dental appliance or CPAP machine to ensure restful sleep.

Of course, some common sense measures should always be followed: always wear your safety belt, do not drive through blinding rain or horrible blizzards, do not text and drive, and most importantly, pull over if you need to make a sandwich! Your family is counting on you coming home in one piece. Defensive driving is even more important with a big rig than the family SUV; many drivers do not realize that some of the sudden moves they make can have fatal consequences, so always keep your eyes open and check your mirrors often. Finally, those who own their own trucks should compare truck insurance from a number of companies to ensure the proper coverage at the right price.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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ATA Responds to Fallacious Claims About Safety in the Trucking Industry

American Trucking Associations (ATA) President Bill Graves issued the following statement responding to fallacious claims about the safety of the trucking industry:

“For years we’ve seen a number of organizations proselytize about the dangers posed by the trucking industry. These groups have for too long co-opted the legitimate grief of Americans who have tragically lost family members on our nation’s highways in order to advance an agenda designed to hurt our economy and our industry and benefit trucking’s competitors and well-heeled union interests.

“Issues as important as highway safety demand that legitimate stakeholders be honest and upfront with the public and deal with facts and science.

“The fact is, the trucking industry has never been safer – and the continued improvement is due in part to the hours-of-service rule these groups have attempted to litigate and blackmail out of existence. The fact is, while operating under the current hours-of-service rule, trucking has been involved in far fewer fatal and injury crashes, and it has improved its fatality and injury crash rates by 34 and 39 percent respectively.

“In the two years since ATA unveiled its 18-point safety agenda, a comprehensive approach to addressing both primary and secondary causes of highway crashes, these alleged ‘safety’ groups have not made a serious proposal to address trucking safety. Their fix, arbitrarily cut working hours to advance labor’s agenda, and further restrict truck size and weight to advance the railroad’s agenda.

“These same concerned citizens claim to speak for many Americans on the issue of truck productivity, but it seems pretty clear they speak for the railroad industry which lines its pockets at the expense of shippers and consumers they hold hostage. Allowing states the flexibility to make decisions on more productive trucks would not only cut shipping costs during this fragile economic recovery, they would allow trucking to better utilize its safest, most efficient and greenest vehicles.

“ATA, and the entire trucking industry, sympathizes with those who have lost loved ones on our highways. Those who claim to speak for them should be honest about their motives and stop misleading the public to advance a transparent labor and railroad agenda.”

ATA’s Graves Provides Facts in Response to Industry Critics’ Attempts to Mislead

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Turtle racing

Photo by TheMarque

Turtles are cool. If I see one trying to cross the road, I’m the kinda guy that’ll pull over and carry him across the road to safety. That is, unless it’s one of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If I see one of them in the road, I’m gonna stick out my tongue, close one eye, take aim, and hit the accelerator. Man, those “dudes” are annoying.

So why would I go out of my way to help a turtle cross the road? Well, like I said, they’re cool, but it’s also because The Evil Overlord likes that about me. What can I say? I’m a sweetie. Still, the main reason is simply because he’s so freakin’ slow. By the way, I do always assume it’s a male turtle crossing the road. My thinking is that the only thing that could make a turtle jump out into traffic is a lady turtle batting her eyes and wiggling her sexy little tail around.

So anyway, why all the talk about turtles? Well, because the trucking industry has it’s own version of turtles. Only no one likes them. I’m talking about speed-limited trucks. Specifically, I’m talking about two speed-limited trucks trying to pass each other out on the highway. You know; Turtle Racing.

Whether your vehicle has 18 wheels or four, we’ve all experienced a Turtle Race. You’re tooling along in the fast lane, when some trucker jumps out in front of you. You calmly slow down and follow while this truck slooooooowly creeps up and passes the slightly slower truck. I assume you were calm, right? I mean, it only took five minutes for dillmunch #1 to pass dillmunch #2.

Notice that I called both of these drivers “dillmunch.” Besides the fact that I have no earthly idea what a dillmunch is, I still say the turtle race was both of these driver’s faults. It takes two to do the Tango and it takes two to race. If you were to ask most drivers whose fault it is, they’d blame the guy trying to pass. I agree… and I disagree. Let’s take a look at that.

Okay. Say my truck will go a mind-blowing warp speed of 65 mph. I’m coming up on a truck going 64 mph. Sure, I could tap my brake, lower my cruise control, and stare at his trailer doors all day. After all, I am looking pretty smokin’ in those reflective doors. But why should I have to slow down because my truck is faster than his? Wouldn’t it make more sense to let the faster truck get on with his business?

The thing is, it takes two drivers with common sense, professional attitudes, and the willingness to put themselves in the other driver’s shoes. Those are three attributes that are sorely missing in today’s trucking industry. Nowadays, everyone is out for themselves.

Drivers can’t be bothered to let you go around them before they take ten minutes to back into a wide-open parking spot. The same guys don’t have a second thought about butting in line to get to the shipping clerk’s window. Nor do they mind parking in front of the fuel bay while they mosey into the truck stop, stand in line to get their fuel receipt, take a dump, fill up their thermos, and grab some to-go food; hopefully in that order.

These are the same drivers who see the faster truck coming up behind them. They’re the drivers who see you in their mirror as you pull out to pass. The same jerk who can see the traffic stacking up behind you. The worthless puddle of dog vomit that refuses to tap his brakes, even though he can clearly see you’re going to pass him eventually.

Here’s how I try to deal with this. First, I give the driver the benefit of the doubt, trusting that as soon as he notices me, he’ll let me around. Hey, it could happen. Once I’ve caught his beady little eyes looking at me in his mirror, I wait a few seconds to see if he’s gonna back out of it. If he doesn’t, I resort to a drastic step. Well, it is for me anyway.

I break out the “Official Communication Device of Hell”, otherwise known as the CB radio. Again, I’ll be nice at first. Maybe he’s into a good audiobook and the situation just hasn’t registered in his puny little brain. I’ll key up the mic and say in a friendly voice, “Hey driver. How about a little driver courtesy here?” Sometimes that works. Other times, the guy doesn’t have his CB turned on. Can’t say as I blame him for that. Still other times, you know you’ve got a real winner on your hands when he picks up the mic and says, “If you can’t pass me faster than that, it’s not my problem.” Oh my. What do you do with a guy like this?

That’s when I take a deep, calming breath and explain to him that we as drivers are never going to get respect and cooperation from the public if we can’t even get it from our fellow drivers. I’m often filled with awe from their insightful comeback. Something truly wise, like, “Shut up, stupid.”

This is what we’re dealing with out here. All this could be avoided if drivers just had a little common courtesy towards each other. Instead, we’re all faced with turtle racing every day. And as for you four-wheelers, don’t think you’re exempt either. The only thing more frustrating than being stuck behind turtle racing trucks, is to be stuck behind turtle racing four-wheelers. For the love of Pete, folks. Trust me on this. It’s okay to turn your cruise control off. The car manufacturers have thoroughly tested these devices. You’re not gonna break anything. Except for my forehead, which is decisively bashing into my steering wheel with a head-banging force usually reserved for Slayer songs.

So here’s my plea to all drivers. Just get off the road and let me do my job. Okay, I guess that’s a bit impractical. So practically, let’s do this.

  • First, keep your eyes open and pay attention. The key to avoiding turtle racing is knowing when it’s actually happening and then doing whatever it takes to help the situation.
  • If you need to instigate a turtle race, wait until most of the traffic behind you has cleared. If traffic is heavy and you’re going to be holding people up, just tap your brakes and follow the slow-poke until traffic thins. Then mount your attack.
  • If you’re the slower driver, be a sport. Tap your brakes and let the other driver around. It’s not like you’re approaching 88 mph and if you don’t reach it in time, you’ll be stuck in the past… or future.
  • If you’re the faster driver, use the CB to politely ask if the dimwit will let you around. My suggestion would be to NOT use the term “dimwit” when addressing said dimwit.
  • If the slower driver ignores you, or worse, laughs at you, feel free to wave at him as you drive past his window. I leave the amount of fingers you use entirely up to you.
  • If you’re the faster driver, and Captain Slo-Mo just won’t let you around, even after multiple attempts, be the bigger man (or woman). Back out of it, get behind him, and let all the backed-up traffic go on their merry little, un-speed-limited way.
  • Now for the final and most important step. Concentrate hard and wish for the next toilet seat he visits to be infested with crabs. Now, don’t you feel better?
If you think I’m totally off-base here, or you’ve got some good tips to avoid turtle racing, please share them in the comments section. Also please give this post a star rating. I’m sorry, but the button seems to be broken. It appears that only 5 stars are being accepted at this time. HeeHee And please share this post on whatever social network that sucks up waaaaay too much of your time. :-) Thanks.


© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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What does your Recruiting Ad Message say about your Company? by Ellen Voie

Before you create an ad campaign, you must first determine whom you want to recruit.  Sure, you want drivers, but are you targeting owner-operators or company drivers, regional or long haul, flatbed or dry van, men or women?

Men or women?  Why should your ad consider the reader’s gender, aren’t all drivers looking for the same thing…pay, home time, equipment, etc?  Not necessarily, if you truly want to recruit women you might consider changing your message and your graphic to be more inclusive.

If your ads depict scantily clad women spread across the grill of a truck, you aren’t going to attract female drivers.  It’s offensive to them.   What about the wording in your ads?  “Take your wife to the big island” claims one ad.  Wife?  A simple solution would be to change “wife” to “spouse,” but then you’ve excluded all the single drivers.

At Women In Trucking (WIT), we’re concerned about the way our industry reaches out to potential female drivers, and recruiting ads are part of the challenge.  The message and the image often excludes our target audience.

In an effort to better understand the driver’s perspective, we teamed with Dr. Jeanette Kersten, EdD , Assistant Professor in the Department of Operations and Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  Graduate students Anyradha Nigam, Martha Vang and Tracy Abrahamson designed a recruiting ad project to better understand the female driver perception.

Nigam began the project with a survey and handed it off to Abrahamson and Vang who took it to the next level with additional research and a final report.  Some of their findings were surprising.

Sixty-eight CDL holders completed the survey, which depicted three ads from WIT member companies.  The respondents were asked for their opinions on the ads.  The questions asked whether the ads were believable, relevant, persuasive and clear, in addition to other criteria.  The drivers were able to provide additional input in a comments section.

One of the ads featured a professional driver; the other two were stock photos (models).  The respondents questioned the ads’ honesty with comments such as, “lies,” “dishonest,” or “biased.”  One even remarked that the teeth were too “white” for a professional driver!  The ad with a couple (team) was criticized for not using “real drivers.”

When asked, “If you were to create a recruiting advertisement, what would you include?”  Eighty percent wanted information on “home time” and “benefits” to be included.  “Experience requirements” scored 75% and “wages” was listed as the fourth most important item to include in a recruiting ad.  The type of equipment was important to 67 percent of the respondents, and “miles run” was next with 64 percent.  The routes (or lanes) were important to 61 percent of the drivers, “perks” followed with 57 percent.

One notable finding was that 52 percent of the drivers wanted to know about the company’s pet policy!  Women are often more apt to want to bring a pet with them for security reasons or just for companionship. The carriers that allow a dog or cat in the cab should be sure to include that in their recruiting ads.

The survey included a few open-ended questions.  When asked what should be included in an a recruitment ad the comments included things such as the turnover rate, CSA  score, background requirements, bonus information and special benefits such as gym memberships, satellite radios and group discount programs.

One driver felt the ads should reveal the “attitude of dispatchers!”  Another respondent wanted to know the dispatch policies (forced or choice).  A number of the comments asked for the type of freight the company hauls.

The purpose of this research is to create a “Best Recruiting Ad” contest for Women In Trucking members.  We will use the findings to identify the criteria for advertisements that reflect the mission of the association and appeal to female professional drivers.

Our goal is to encourage companies to take a hard look at their recruiting ads and consider whether or not they appeal to women.  Models in short skirts in front of a truck need not apply.


© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Women In Trucking Driver Advisory Committee Shares Concerns with NTSB Chairman Hersman

When NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” she means what she says. She proved it this past week as she spent nearly four days immersed in activities to help her better understand the trucking industry.

Hersman traveled from her office in Washington DC to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, riding with five different professional drivers who shared their thoughts with their captive audience of one. “It was an HONOR to meet Chairman Hersman,” said Jill Garcia, 15-year driver with Schneider National, “she was VERY attentive to my input and concerns,” she added.

Prior to addressing the audience at the Women In Trucking (WIT) Salute to Women Behind the Wheel on Saturday, April 2, Hersman sat down with the WIT’s driver advisory committee to listen to their thoughts about safety issues on the road. Members of the American Trucking Associations’ America’s Road Team joined them.

“The opportunity to meet with Chairman Hersman went beyond my expectations,” said Sherri Fronko, Wilcox Trucking and twenty-year veteran driver. “She is a real person who listened and cared about what the driver advisory committee had to say! Our meeting was truly an honor,” Fronko added.

Ingrid Brown, who began her career as a professional driver in 1979 agreed with Fronko, “The personal attention given to each and everyone in the meeting was one that could not be mistaken nor missed being filled with human compassion, knowledge and interest by Chairman Hersman.”

Angel Grider, who drives for Con-Way freight said, “I appreciated the candor in which she spoke. Due to her ride along, I admired her new found respect for the American trucker. I felt like she truly was looking for feedback, not just platitudes, and as a result I believe we may have been able to get her to see both sides,” Grider added.

Chairman Hersman has earned the respect from many in the trucking industry who were impressed with her effort to understand the driver’s perspective. She admitted, “I know it’s all in a day’s journey for you. I also recognize that two days on the road doesn’t make a trucker. My trip was just a small glimpse into your world and I don’t understand everything about your lives. But I definitely have a lot more respect for the hard working professional truck driver.”

Walmart driver, Susan Wirth said, “It was truly an honor to meet with Chairman Hersman, but more importantly, to have an open discussion of safety concerns regarding the highways of America with the chairman since this is her area of expertise. I was also impressed with all of the professional drivers present and the experience and comments they made. These forums are beneficial to all and along with the safety issues being addressed, we can feel confident that our highways will become safer as long as we continue to keep the focus and the dialogue.”

NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman is from the government, but she truly does have a desire to help. “Chairman Hersman was a bright light on a lot of safety issues. I have learned a lot from meeting her.” said Cynthia Kidder, J B Hunt Transport and one million mile safe driver. We appreciate her support for Women In Trucking as well as the entire industry.

Back row, l-r: Clarence Jenkins, (UPS Freight), Dennis Martin, (UPS Freight) Sherri Fronko, (Wilcox Trucking), Veronica Godoy (Con-Way Truckload), Tim McElwaney (ABF Freight System), Alphonso Lewis (YRC),  Danny Fuller (Con-way Freight), Wayne Crowder, (FedEx Freight)

Front Row, l-r: Angel Grider, (Con-Way Freight), Jill Garcia, (Schneider National), Ingrid Brown, (Forward Air), Susan Wirth-White, (Walmart), Chairman Hersman, Linda Caffe, (FedEx Custom Critical), Cynthia Kidder,( J. B. Hunt), Susan Durstine, (Southern Cal Transport)

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Women in trucking | Tagged , , , Audience Of One, , Captive Audience, , Con-way Freight, deborah hersman, , Honor, human compassion, , , ntsb chairman, , Platitudes, , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Opening the Border to Mexican Trucks is Irresponsible

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is infuriated on behalf of small-business truckers and professional truck drivers at today’s announcement by the White House to open up U.S. highways to Mexican trucks..

“This is the wrong plan at the wrong time for numerous reasons,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “It’s irresponsible and reckless. The Administration must reconsider or Congress must step in again to force them to do the right thing.”

The majority of trucking companies based in the U.S. are small businesses. As many as 93% of all motor carriers have fewer than 20 trucks in their fleets and 78% of motor carriers have fleets of six or fewer trucks. Owner-operator fleets averaging slightly more than one truck represent nearly half the total number of heavy-duty commercial trucks operated in the U.S. Those trucking companies and truck drivers must contend with ever-increasing safety, homeland security and environmental regulations that dramatically affect their costs of operation as well as their ability to make a living at their chosen profession.

Mexico does not have an even remotely equivalent regulatory regime for its trucking industry and drivers.

“The onus is on Mexico to raise the safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry,” added Spencer. “We should not allow ourselves to be harassed or blackmailed into lowering ours.”

Mexico first imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports close to two years ago. OOIDA contends the legality of the original tariffs should have been challenged.

Spencer noted, “Succumbing to Mexico’s bullying provides a handy attack plan for them and other governments in future trade disputes.”

Despite the tariffs, based on numbers released by the U.S. Department of Transportation in March 2011, truck-based trade with Mexico surged by 27.6 percent last year to a total of $320.3 billion, and the bulk of this increase was from U.S. goods going to Mexico.

They need to stop placating Mexico’s government and start fighting for the Americans they are supposed to represent.” said Spencer. “If they follow through with this, the Administration will be jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of Americans.”

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Posted in trucking news | Tagged , , do the right thing, , , , , , , , , , owner operator, , , , safety security, , , Trade Disputes, , , , , | Leave a comment

Women In Trucking Association Holds Second Annual Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel

The Women In Trucking Association’s (WIT) Salute to the Women Behind the wheel drew 204 professional female drivers to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, April 2. Although it might not have been a new record, the event was a huge success in the eyes of those women who were honored for their achievements in a male dominated career.

“The women who were recognized absolutely are pioneers in this industry and make me proud to not only be a driver, but a female driver!” said Susan Durstine, driver for Southern Cal Trucking and member of WIT’s Driver Advisory Committee.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, Deborah A. P. Hersman, addressed the audience and thanked them for their professionalism and passion for safety. The Chairman experienced a taste of life on the road by traveling to the show with five different drivers who took her from Washington DC to Louisville.

Hersman presented more than 100 of the women with certificates to redeem for plaques engraved with their names and years of safe driving from the association. Sixty-eight women had one million miles, 26 had more than two million, and eleven had driven over three million miles. For the first time, two women were recognized for their four million miles of safe driving, Heather Hogeland, a driver for UPS Freight, and Alice Adams, who drives for Walmart’s Private Fleet.

“Our goal in hosting the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel it to recognize these women for their years of service to this industry,” said Ellen Voie, WIT’s President/CEO. “More importantly, these drivers are role models for those who will follow in their footsteps as more women become aware of the opportunities waiting for them in the trucking industry,” Voie added.

The nearly 500 attendees enjoyed WIT’s signature chocolate fountain as they listened to Lindsay Lawler who performed prior to the event. Sponsors were on hand to meet with the drivers and their families. “The ladies that I spoke to at the event were thrilled that the effort was put out by WIT to recognize them and their accomplishments and the sponsors were so encouraging and showed obvious support to women drivers,” Durstine said.

The Salute to Women Behind the Wheel was hosted by Gold Level Sponsors, Freightliner, Frito-Lay and Walmart. Silver Level sponsors were U. S. Xpress and Con-Way. Bronze level sponsors: American Defense Lawyers, Minute Clinic by CVS/Pharmacy and Owner-Operator Direct. Copper level: Apex Capitol, Peterbilt Motor Company, Rand McNally, Pitt Ohio Express, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. and UPS Freight. Nickel Level: J. B. Hunt, CigRX and Transplace.

The association is already making plans for next year’s event to be held the last day of the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show. Women In Trucking Association was established in 2007 to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. For more information visit

Photo by Paul Hartley, Add Media.  Hi-Res photo available by request (contact )

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Women in trucking | Tagged , , Board Chairman, Chairman, chocolate fountain, , , , , , , , private fleet, Role Models, , , , , Southern Cal, Taste Of Life, , , , ups freight, | Leave a comment