In an effort to improve working conditions for female truck drivers and enhance their safety through ergonomic truck cab designs, Ryder is partnering with Women in
Trucking (WIT), a non-profit organization designed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry.
Ryder has used research conducted by WIT and a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s College of Management. The survey-based research has led to new custom cab designs that are thought to be better for female users, who average 6 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than men. Ryder plans to implement design modifications in their owned and leased fleet. Changes to design include seats, dashes, and steering systems.
Ryder is considering:
- Step and handle height;
- Adjustable foot pedal height (accelerator, brake, clutch);
- Seat belt height at the shoulder;
- Dash gauge visibility;
- Hood lifting mechanism;
- Location of automated transmission shift lever;
- Top of dash access; and
- Better access to check fluids.
The research was done because “some female drivers have problems setting their seats for easy access to the pedals and maximum visibility of the gauges and mirrors. Female truck drivers are also sometimes challenged in regard to cab accessibility, such as getting into their trucks.”
Some, but not all, women face unique challenges due to their height and physical strength when driving a tractor trailer. Not all female drivers agree that there is a need for truck redesign.
A female truck driver identified only as “Barb” commented after a news article on the subject:
“Really?! Gimme a break! I’ve been driving for 18 years and not once did I think, gosh, if the grab handle or dash were just a little lower/higher I could do my job better. We need drivers that are female, not female drivers. Meaning we need women that aren’t going to be concerned about their nails getting broke or their hair mussed, etc. Next you’ll be wanting to redesign farm tractors.”
As for this lady driver, I am 5’3”, and while I have had some challenges in some trucks, overall I have been able to do my job within safe parameters. Certain makes are better suited to shorter people, and standardizing the measurements and adjustment ability would benefit not only women but shorter guys, too.
, Truck Driver
, Women in Trucking