Ryder System announced that it will offer customers a female-friendly vehicle package for lease. With the help of various OEMs and the Women in Trucking Association, a nonprofit organization established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, Ryder is making available a custom vehicle design with 15 specifications intended to better meet the needs of female drivers.
The ergonomic vehicles include features such as adjusted height and placement of cab grab handles, adjustable seatbelt shoulder straps, improved placement of dash cluster gauges and better access to oil and coolant checks and fill ports. Ryder said it also can include the following options upon customer request and depending upon the vehicle OEM model:
• Ergonomically designed seats and an adjustable armrest;
• A hood lift/closure assistance mechanism;
• Automated transmissions;
• Fifth wheel configurations with lower pull pressures to open the locking mechanism;
• Automated fifth wheel locking mechanisms;
• Automatic landing gear operators for trailers; and
• A cab security system for added protection while a driver is in his/her sleeper berth.
Ryder said attracting more women to the trucking industry may be a key to alleviating the driver shortage. Only 5 percent of professional truck drivers in the United States are women, according to WIT, and Ryder is committed to identifying truck design gaps and influencing improvements in future vehicle designs that may make driving a more attractive career option for them. For example, the company currently is encouraging OEMs to standardize adjustable-height foot pedals, which WIT said was one item identified by female truck drivers as an important need.
“As an industry leader, we feel a responsibility to leverage our influence and find creative ways to deal with the professional truck driver shortage,” said Scott Perry, Ryder’s vice president of supply management and global fuel products.
Perry said the same ergonomic specifications also will provide a benefit for many smaller-statured male drivers in the industry. “Our intent is to not only help attract more women to the industry, but also to make the vehicles easier and safer for a broader range of drivers to operate,” Perry said. “This custom truck package is not only more ergonomically friendly to women, but will also benefit other drivers with the same types of needs.”