Physical challenges for female drivers

Oct. 2, 2014

The seats in trucks seem to be the most challenging part of the design when it comes to ergonomics.  Without the ability to comfortably reach the pedals, controls and levers, it becomes an issue of safety for many people who are not easily accommodated while driving. 

Adding to the safety considerations, seat comfort is crucial in supporting the driver’s back. A study by the Kentucky College of Nursing found that back pain is the second most cited health condition for professional drivers. 

In addition to the seat itself, the seat belt and shoulder harness often make the miles behind the wheel uncomfortable.  The three point belt system does not always allow women with cleavage be secured properly and many women will put the shoulder strap behind them to stop the chafing.  For smaller women the shoulder strap rubs against the neck when a height adjustment is unavailable.  

Because of the shorter leg length, the steps into the cab of the truck become an issue for some women.  A study by Liberty Mutual found that forty percent of falls from highway vehicles occur when the victim is entering or exiting the cab of the truck, or the rear of the truck or trailer.

Accommodating these challenges are crucial in creating a safer environment for women. The trucking industry already has a reputation for being one of the more hazardous occupations. One out of every 13 drivers experiences a work related industry resulting in a lost time claim.

Women are not just small statured men, and the equipment needs for this segment of the driver population should not be ignored.  In an effort to attract and retain women as professional drivers, we need to address these challenges and make the trucking industry more accommodating for women as well as men!

About the Author

Ellen Voie | President/CEO

Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in 2007 and serves as the nonprofit’s President/CEO. Women In Trucking was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members. Ellen was the Manager of Retention and Recruiting Programs at Schneider National, Inc.,

Ellen earned a diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management while employed as Traffic Manager for a steel fabricating plant in 1979.  She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with an MA in Communication from UW-Stevens Point, where she completed her research on the complex identities of women married to professional drivers. She holds a Class A CDL. In 2012 Ellen was honored by the White House as a Transportation Innovator Champion of Change

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!