For fourteen years the Women In Trucking Association has been the only organization whose mission is to encourage and advance the employment of women in trucking. We have always represented ALL women in the industry, or as we like to say, the women who design, build, fix, drive, or own trucks.
Since 2007, we have been the lone voice for our members, but now that is changing. We are being joined by other groups that share our goal to bring more women into the industry. We are extremely proud to be an integral part of three national initiatives.
In 2019 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee charter to establish a committee to, “provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation … about needs, objectives, plans, approaches, content, and accomplishments of the motor carrier safety programs carried out by the Administration and motor carrier safety regulations. “
This year, former DOT Secretary Elaine Chao appointed me to the MCSAC to serve with 24 other industry members for a two-year term. Additionally, for the first time, a driver subcommittee was formed to serve under the direction of Owner-Operator-Independent-Driver’s-Association’s leader, Todd Spencer. Three of our Image Team members, Deb LaBree, Kellylynn McLaughlin and Angelique Temple were appointed to serve on this subcommittee.
It’s a refreshing change to see the administration including professional drivers in order to better understand their concerns, and even more exciting to see so many women represented on this sub-committee. We are confident that our Image Team members will provide feedback to these decision makers that will make our industry better (and safer) for everyone.
The Image Team Members and I look forward to representing you, our members in both of these groups. If you have thoughts about issues pertinent to these groups, feel free to share them with us. The first meeting will be held later this month (July) in a two-day virtual event.
The need for more professional drivers has garnered the attention of our lawmakers. They are feeling the pressure to create problem solving groups to tackles these issues. Two bills have been introduced to promote our industry to attract more workers.
Recently, the legislature has recognized the need to attract more drivers, pilots, engineers, and operators. The Women In Trucking Association joined thirty other groups to support the “Promoting Service in Transportation Act” to create a series of public service announcements for print, broadcast, and digital media to encourage these careers in trucking, aviation, rail and maritime.
More specific to trucking, we have been involved in the “Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act” to would direct the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish a “Women of Trucking Advisory Board.” Under this bill, the board would identify barriers to entry for women in the trucking industry, work across organizations and companies to coordinate formal education and training programs and help identify and establish training and mentorship programs for women in the industry
These initiatives, along with numerous other legislative directives were introduced in the 117th Congress this past month in the “Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021.” The act includes motor carrier, rail, highway and motor vehicles, multi-modal operations as well as hazardous materials. It also addresses research and innovation programs
We are well aware that the industry isn’t always looking for more regulation, but these proposals replace the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” and has increased the funding to provide $78 billion over five years for multimodal surface transportation, rail, freight and safety programs. The bill includes $1 Billion for research and $13 billion targeting safety programs.
We are thrilled to be involved in all three of these initiatives and to support programs that elevate the mission of Women In Trucking Association. These are opportunities to advance our goals at a higher level and to include other stakeholders in our quest to increase the participation of women in transportation related careers.