While most commercial truck drivers believe their cabs are safe, they also indicated knowledge of women falling victim to harassment or assault while sharing a cabin during over-the-road training. This is why same-gender cab sharing has been a primary concern of current and prospective female truck drivers, according to an industry survey conducted by the Women In Trucking Association.
After receiving their commercial driver’s license, aspiring professional drivers typically accompany an experienced one on their route to become more confident, safer, and capable on the road, according to Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT. This not only could mean working exclusively with a stranger in close quarters for long hours during the day, it also means the potential of needing to sleep in the same vehicle.
Given that 46% of the more than 430 professional drivers WIT surveyed about their perceptions and experiences involving and safety and harassment in the trucking industry indicated that they have had an unwanted physical advance made toward them at least once and another 52% know of someone who had an unwanted physical advance made toward them, it is understandable why the prospect of cab sharing with a member of the opposite gender concerns many women, Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT.
The survey was completed from July through September 2021. Of those drivers that completed the survey about 66% of the drivers identified as female, 32% as male, and nearly 2% as non-binary.
There are a number of corporate policy recommendations on same-gender training that Voie recommends:
- Adopt a same-gender training policy that enables female professional drivers to have the option for a same-gender trainer when involved in on-the-road training activities.
- When having a same-gender trainer isn’t an option in instances involving female drivers, develop alternatives to help reduce or eliminate issues, such as ensuring that when sleeping arrangements need to be made that one of the parties has the ability to have a paid hotel room available to avoid the need to sleep together in the same cab.
- Encourage driving teams where partners who are friends, spouses, or in a committed relationship alternate their time behind the wheel on the same route.
- Upgrade in-cab safety technology where trucks are equipped with sound-enabled in-cab cameras and panic/emergency buttons in the sleeper and cabin areas.