PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The promise of a fresh start and great pay draws thousands of people, including many women, to become truck drivers, but fundamental flaws in the driver recruiting and training process are putting female truckers, and all drivers on major highways, at risk. A newly launched trade association, REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT), is working to change the industry from the inside out, and seeks the community’s help to raise awareness and support for issues that put drivers in danger.
RWIT was initially formed in 2010 by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. The women found the driver training process to be a harrowing experience, as they received little training, even driving tractor-trailers without proper instruction. Worse, training often included being paired with drivers who verbally and physically abused the women, and made aggressive sexual advances.
One of RWIT’s founders, Desiree Wood, had such an experience and was ultimately left stranded far from home with little support from the carrier company overseeing her education. “I learned that my experience – which was extremely traumatic – was, in fact, very common. We believe we can change the industry for the better. REAL Women in Trucking raises awareness of misconduct and violence toward women, and builds a community of mentors and resources. We need everyone’s attention and support to make a difference.”
The grassroots, driver-led organization officially launched as a 501(c)6 trade association with a focus on supporting and providing information and resources related to women in the trucking industry. RWIT assists women – and all prospective truckers – in finding reputable Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) schools and training carriers/ trucking companies for new drivers. RWIT’s aim is to raise awareness and understanding of how poor CDL training poses a dire safety risk to the public, driver-trainers and CDL students seeking a new career.
RWIT is seeking women who have recently worked in training carriers or who have been trainers in the past to get involved as virtual mentors and encourages all members of the community to become familiar with the issues to be able to advocate for positive change to ultimately make the roads safer for everyone.
For more information, contact Desiree Wood at 561-232-9170 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.realwomenintrucking.org/. Follow RWIT on Twitter: @womentruckers.
Photo: via Real Women in Trucking