In an economy where there is a shortage of truck drivers, Elkhart, Ind.-based CWRV Transport is empowering entrepreneurial women to become owner operators in the transportation business.
CWRV Transport honored women drivers and their guests at a “Women in Trucking Day” luncheon Wednesday (Dec. 20) at its Nappanee Street facilities. The company, which is the dedicated RV transporter for all Camping World Inc. locations coast-to-coast, attracted over 20 of its 40-plus female drivers from all over the country for the event. Highlighting the gathering, Ellen Voie, president of the National Women in Trucking Association, offered an inspirational presentation.
“Our mission is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry,” said Voie. “We celebrate the success of women, as well as address their obstacles. A full 17% of our members are men. Why do they join? Because they believe our mission is the right thing to do.”
She said the Women in Trucking Organization has about 4,000 members worldwide. “We even have one member in Pakistan,” said Voie. “Australia and Europe still have only about 2% women drivers in trucking.”
Voie went on to state that the argument can be made that women are better truck drivers.
“The U.S. Institute of Highway Safety found the rate of deaths per million miles is significantly less for women drivers than for men,” said Voie. “Women stay with their companies longer. They value their relationships with their dispatchers more. Women are more relationship oriented and very good at customer service.”
Voie added that women drivers are easier on equipment, more risk adverse, and better at handling and filing the paperwork needed.
She pointed out that because drivers are paid by the mile, “Truck driving is one of the few occupations where women are paid the same as men.” The average full time wage of the women drivers gathered that day was between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.
CWRV Transport President Rob Jackson, creator of the Women in Trucking event, said that women currently make up 6% of drivers nationally with an estimated 225,000 women drivers. “We currently have 40 women drivers, which is roughly 9% of our workforce and above the national average,” he said. “The average age is about 50-year-old, which is right in our wheelhouse because the majority of our divers are 50 to 70 years of age.”
Jackson stated that with Camping World’s recent announcement of making home deliveries, he thinks women drivers will “lend themselves well” to the 39-point-run-through new RV owners will receive at the time of delivery.
“We have 490 drivers in our fleet and 40 of them are women,” said Jackson. “We want more. We have 21 honored here today and they are from all over the country. We have drivers from all 48 states. For all the drivers that could attend the event today, we made sure they had a trip here and a trip home, with Christmas week coming up.”