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8/11/2016 4:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

No Gender Gap in Today’s Class 8 Trucks, Tractors

This story appears in the Aug. 8 print edition of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.

When it comes to differences in average height, weight and strength of male and female Class 8 truck drivers, those differences challenge truck designers to build a vehicle that can be easily used by both genders. Those physical differences can make it difficult for drivers — male or female — to reach the pedals while seeing over the hood, or to open a hood and be able to add engine oil or clean a windshield without having to climb atop a tire.

In recent years, individual drivers and organizations have urged original equipment manufacturers to change truck components and designs to improve the driving environment for women.

Phil Romba

As more women become Class 8 truck drivers, the call to design and build power units better suited to their physical attributes is being answered by truck makers today, despite what a survey of female drivers showed four years ago.

BEST OF AUGUST E&MU: More stories, columns

Fleets and drivers say the current generation of highway tractors is improved and fits a wide variety of driver physiques regardless of gender. In their views and mine, there is no gender gap in today’s Class 8 trucks and tractors. The concept of vehicle features and designs tailored to female drivers is unnecessary.

In fact, one truckload fleet executive, who asked to remain anonymous, was perplexed by the topic of trucks tailored to women because all his company’s equipment is specified with comforts such as automated transmissions, refrigerators and auxiliary power units, regardless of the driver’s gender. “Women drivers are as good or as bad as men,” he said.

According to the Truck Driver Shortage Analysis 2015 report from American Trucking Associations, the percentage of female drivers has been stuck between 4.5% and 6% since 2000. Despite the stagnated figures, women represent an untapped demographic for future drivers.

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By Phil Romba
Contributing Writer

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