Smaller drivers speak up

The shortage of truck drivers is leading manufacturers, leasing companies and fleets to pay more attention to accommodating smaller drivers, especially women, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Quoting a 5-ft. 2-in. driver who says her stature makes it difficult to both maintain good visibility over the dash and solid access to the foot controls, the story reports on Ryder System’s efforts “to identify female-friendly design changes, and [encourage] manufacturers to consider them.” Given trucking’s need to attract more drivers, a Ryder official says the company in general is focused on making the industry more attractive to a broader range of individuals.

Equipment changes like automated transmissions and trailer landing gear that take less effort to deploy are among efforts reported by Schneider National to make trucks more friendly to drivers of all sizes and types, according to the Sentinel.

The story also cites a study on truck design and comfort conducted by the Univ. of Wisconsin-Stout for Women in Trucking. Lead researcher Jeanette Kersten said:

"Seat adjustability was really important. And) adjustable steering wheels. Not all trucks have adjustable steering wheels. Adjustable foot pedals. Not only adjustable foot pedals, but guess what — foot pedals are too small."

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