Last weekend, at the 2010 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro helped celebrate the success of women in trucking.
MATS is a big deal. With over 1,000 exhibits covering over 1 million square feet, it is the largest trucking show in the world. FMCSA officials were on-site discussing Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA) and hosting a live-streamed listening session on our hours-of-service rulemaking. On Saturday, Administrator Ferro addressed the Women In Trucking Association's "Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel," celebrating the achievements of women in trucking and the high safety standards they bring to the road.
Here are excerpts from her talk:
First, I'm pleased that we broke the North American record of women truck drivers gathering at the same time, and I am absolutely confident we’ll get the world record next year!
How often have we heard that trucking is a man’s world or had someone say that the job is too rough,
too stressful or too dangerous?
By being here you have proven the naysayers wrong.
And, I’m here to tell you that women not only belong in trucking, but that we make trucking better. Women can raise the bar for the industry with exceptional skills and dedication to safe driving practices.
Thank you to the 60 1-million-mile award winners, the 28 2-million-mile winners, and the 14 3-million-mile winners, for being safe and for being good role models not only for women and girls, but for all commercial drivers.
By showing this kind of professionalism, women truckers are making it possible to expand opportunities for other women to join the ranks in trucking.
I believe that through positive role models, a strong work ethic, and showing our support for other women, we can be our best promoters and make trucking a better career for everyone.
To succeed in previously male dominated professions, some women have felt they had to fit in or be eaten alive. But those days are over, even for trucking. Women don't have to give up being women to achieve in trucking.
But there are still challenges. Setting goals and breaking barriers isn’t easy, and organizations like Women In Trucking make individual women stronger by helping women support each other.
I encourage you to take charge of your careers. As the traditional population of truckers decreases, opportunities may open for women to play a bigger role in trucking. Seek out those opportunities.
In growing numbers, women are taking charge of their lives by owning their own companies. In fact, according to the latest statistics by the Small Business Administration, women own 28% of all non-agricultural based businesses. Trucking doesn't have to be an exception.
For right now, it's true that your performance and your decisions on the road don't just reflect on you or on the companies you drive for; they reflect on all women in trucking. Whether you realize it or not, with every mile driven and every load delivered, you are paving the way for other women to succeed.
I know that's quite a burden. But I also know you can handle it.
So, go out there and log those miles and develop those businesses.
And, whatever else you do, please be safe on and off the road.
I hope to see each and every one of you back here next year, and bring some friends so we can break that record!