Female Drivers Still Fight for Respect Out on the Road
C.R. England Driver Educates Others Through Actions of Selflessness
SALT LAKE CITY , UT ( August 30, 2006 ) – Despite all the progress for women’s rights, female truck drivers still face an uphill battle for respect and recognition.
“Yeah and they’re even letting us be doctors and lawyers and such,” quips 39-year-old Debbie Banish, who is an independent contractor, trainer and now recruiter for C.R. England, Inc., a national leader in refrigerated and dry truckload services. “Disbelief and lack of respect are an every day occurrence out here on the road.”
She constantly hears comments like, “Can you have your husband back up the truck?” or “What do you know about working on an engine, you’re a woman.”
Banish, who has driven for nearly 13 years, most as a solo driver, has so many stories about disbelievers, doubters and down right rude people, that she could write a book about it. But she chooses to have a sense of humor about it.
She even feels it’s her personal mission to educate people that women not only can make a decent living as an over-the-road driver but can also be good at it too.
“It’s a good career,” she preaches. “It’s not just a man’s job any more.”
While there are approximately 1.3 million long-haul heavy-duty truck drivers in the United States , less than 5 percent are women. At C.R. England nearly 400 of the company’s more than 2,500 drivers are women.
“Women are an untapped resource that can help fill the industry’s need for drivers,” said Mike Skousen, director of management services at C.R. England. “We have a never-ending need for drivers. It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those who do it, it can be rewarding.”
While the average salary for professional drivers is $36,000, trainers and independent operators can make more than $100,000 annually. C.R. England’s benefits also include top mileage pay, graduated pay scale for more experienced drivers, the highest miles per unit, mileage, safety and fuel saving bonuses, awards for safe driving, loading and unloading pay, layover compensation, a personal driver manager and a liberal family rider policy. An innovative “fuel cap” program that limits the cost of diesel fuel to $1.25 per gallon is a further benefit to independent operators.
Sure the money is good, but for Banish, driving is her passion. “When I get home, I’m eager to get back out on the road. I just love it and it’s where I want to be.”
But her passion for the career often leads her to the side of the road, too. She probably has helped nearly as many stranded motorists, especially truck drivers, as miles she’s logged. Even dressed in a skirt, with nails manicured, she’s not afraid to check under the hood or make a repair to a refrigerated truck. “I’ve learned a lot being out here on the road,” she says. “I love to share my knowledge and know-how with other drivers.”
Maybe if everyone spent more time helping their fellow man or woman, and less time doubting and degrading them, the world would be a better place.
“Like I tell people, we’re all just part of the human race,” says Banish, who just tries to make a difference educating one person at a time.
Utah-based C.R. England’s more than 4,350 employees, drivers and independent-contractors take pride in providing the highest quality service, safety and on-time delivery with more than 2,900 trucks and 4,100 trailers. Operating in the 48 contiguous states and Mexico , C.R. England has become the industry leader in providing temperature-controlled truckload, brokerage, intermodal and container service. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City , C.R. England maintains terminals in California , Texas , New Jersey and South Carolina . The company also operates four driving schools across the country. For more information about driving opportunities at C.R. England, Inc., call 1-800-356-5046 or visit www.crengland.net.