Women professional truck drivers hauling bigger freight
Lone Star Transportation sees more women applying to transport flatbed and over-sized loads
Lone Star Transportation, LLC, a specialized heavy haul carrier that transports flatbed, oversized and extreme over-dimensional freight, notes a recent change in its driver applicant pool. More women are applying to fill its professional driving jobs.
Lone Star Transportation CFO, Kristi Williams, says the company is seeing an uptick in female driver applications partly because flatbed and over-dimensional trucking jobs pay better.
“Women truck drivers, like women in other fields, want to earn more money and respect in their careers,” said Williams. “They want access to the same advancement opportunities as men. As a professional truck driver, that means taking on jobs in which they haul bigger, more specialized freight.”
Many still believe that hauling large freight is something only a man could do – a misconception women drivers still battle today.
Lone Star driver Paula Stroud, who is part of Lone Star’s elite four-axle tractor fleet qualified to haul freight of any length, width and weight, says stereotypes were chief among the obstacles she overcame to haul over-dimensional freight.
“I’ve heard a woman shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not your place. You shouldn’t be out here doing a man’s job, and certainly shouldn’t be doing a man’s job better than him,” Stroud said.
Sage Mulholland, another of Lone Star’s drivers, drove over-the-road (OTR) several years for a major dry van carrier before deciding to drive a flatbed.
“I may be just 5 foot 2 inches tall, but I can strap, chain and throw 50-pound tarps over loads as well as any other driver,” said Mulholland. “I don’t feel intimidated one bit, from hauling the small stuff to the big stuff. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I’m not able to do something like this.”
Ellen Voie, President & CEO of Women in Trucking, says a handful of pioneering women first stepped into big rigs several years ago.
“It’s different today — women make up 7 percent of the over-the-road truck drivers, and they are moving all types of freight. You’ll find them driving tankers, hazardous waste and extreme over-dimensional loads. Pay is a major consideration when women transition into moving larger freight,” said Voie, “but so is the challenge it brings.”
There is no doubt that women have helped shape the makeup of the trucking industry, too — for the better.
“Women truck drivers bring a higher level of safety to the industry. They work well with customers, and they’re an important demographic as the trucking industry tries to fill professional driver positions,” Voie said.