Years ago, female drivers put pillows under their seats to see over the dash or blocks on the pedals to reach them, according to Ellen Voie, founder of the Women In Trucking Association. She explained that trucks were built to the 90th percentile male. Now manufacturers are working to make vehicles more ergonomic for women. “We’ve challenged the truck manufacturers to look at it as a home instead of a truck,” she said.
Peterbilt Motors Co. has invested in product updates, such as an emergency alert switch that serves as a panic button with flashing external lights and audible alarms when activated. Also, the Model 579 UltraLoft was designed with improved ergonomics specifically for the shorter-statured driver.
“Trucks need to be designed so that women can easily drive the vehicle,” said Tina Albert, co-chair of the Peterbilt Women Initiative, an advocacy group comprised of employees who come together to inspire and empower women.
Longtime driver Ingrid Brown has served on the Peterbilt interior team to share the challenges women can face. “I’m 5’2”. The seatbelt cuts across my jaw,” she said. “Those things really matter.”