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More women than ever getting into the trucking industry

Posted at 5:36 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 07:21:02-04

(WXYZ) — The trucking industry has long been the backbone of the U.S. economy. Now, a record number of women are fueling the future of the industry.

It has historically been a male-dominated profession, but that's starting to change.

As the demand grows for everything from lumber to cars, the need for truck drivers is growing by the day.

Behind the wheel, the stereotype is changing.

"The women are really out here in full force," Marques Greene said.

Women are getting into the trucking industry in record numbers. Ellen Voie, the CEO and Founder of the Women in Trucking Association, said females are statistically better.

"Male drivers are 20% more likely to be involved in a crash. In every statistically significant area, female drivers are better with customers, are better with equipment, and better with paperwork," Voie said. "Now we are saying we know female drivers make good drivers."

The association said of the 3.5 million truck drivers, only 10% of them are female. On average, women drivers drive more than 70 miles per month than men, and are 16% less likely to be in a crash.

The trucks are also easier to drive. There are more automatics than manuals out there.

Plus, the job hours are becoming more flexible and local. No more long-hauls unless you want them.

Swift Logistics CEO Cherri Harris started driving trucks about 20 years ago.

"Women are more responsible. No disrespect to men, but women show up. Most women are mothers and have to support their families and they need to do what they need to feed their families," Harris said.

By driving a truck, women can make the same amount of money as men, with salaries starting in the 40,000s and can go into the six figures if you own and operate your own company.

The average CDL license costs between $3,000-$7,000, and some companies will pick up the tab and offer great benefits.

But owning your own company comes with challenges, and Harris is experiencing one right now with the supply chain.

"We have been idle now for a month because we get wood shipped into New Jersey from overseas and it's backed up. It's being held up so it's cut our deliveries," Harris said.

That's just a bumb in the road in a career that has many twists and turns.

"Women can do anything and when I first got into the truck I was terrified and I said to myself, 'nothing is bigger than me than God and I can do anything,'" Harris said.