By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter
Women who drive trucks have the ear of the secretary of transportation according to the president and CEO of Women In Trucking. Ellen Voie and WIT Chair Leigh Foxall were recently invited to meet with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss issues that are important to female drivers.
Photo courtesy of WIT
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Women In Trucking/CEO President Ellen Voie and FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro
Voie and Foxall are both OOIDA members. They were joined by Anne S. Ferro, administrator of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Voie says she came away impressed with Secretary LaHood?s interest.
?He was very engaged in the conversation. He asked a lot of questions about what we were already doing and how they can help,? she told Land Line Now. ?So I?m impressed with the fact that the Department of Transportation is interested in looking at things that might keep women from entering the trucking industry or succeeding in the trucking industry. So I?m very heartened by his response.
Voie says she and LaHood discussed issues ranging from a driver shortage that women could help fill to the need for security out on the road.
?The reason I went out to visit with him was to discuss challenges that women face in the trucking industry and how we can address some of those challenges,? Voie said.
She says that at LaHood?s request, she provided a list of things that the DOT and Women In Trucking might cooperate on, including a possible video that would show prospective women drivers what a typical day out on the road is like.
?We?re talking about maybe some network events, maybe some training and introductory type videos on what is the trucking industry like,? said Voie.
?A lot of things on there were some of our long-term goals. Like one of the things we wanted to do was a day-in-the-life-of video that shows a typical day for a professional driver, a solo, a team, an LTL, maybe even dock workers, that sort of thing, so people will know what the job really entails.?
One issue that WIT is currently working on is harassment, she said.
?Harassment is always an issue for us that we?re working on, and the White House Council on Women and Girls has some initiative to address violence against women. And so we?re hoping to be a part of that. And maybe another long-term goal would be to have a toll-free crisis line for any driver, male or female, who feels that their safety is being compromised. We have some big goals that we would like to accomplish and it?s going to take more than our small staff and our small budget to accomplish some of those. And the Department of Transportation is very interested in how they can help us.?
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