Hutcheson Cites History of Commitment to Gender Equality

Robin Hutcheson speaking at Accelerate! Conference & Expo
Robin Hutcheson delivers the keynote address at the Accelerate! Conference & Expo. (Jaren Collins/JCi Creatives)

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DALLAS — The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told a conference hosted by a women’s trucking organization that she has been striving to elevate the vital role women play in the industry throughout her career.

“I’ve always been working on gender equality, on a personal basis and in the transportation industry, beginning in 1995,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson during a Nov. 14 keynote address at the Accelerate! Conference and Expo, hosted by Women In Trucking Association. “I’m committed to your success. I consider myself a part of that in working with you.”

Hutcheson reiterated her commitment to promote diversity in transportation careers, noting that early in her own career she often was the only woman in a room. Today, she cited statistics that indicate that while women account for 57% of the entire U.S. workforce, they hold just 24% of all transportation careers and about 8% of truck driving jobs. To spur some growth, she pointed to the recent formation at FMCSA of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board, chartered with reviewing and reporting on policies providing education, training and mentoring to increase the number of women in the trucking industry.

Since joining FMCSA in January, Hutcheson said she has accompanied a woman truck driver for a ride-along, and has twice climbed behind the wheel herself, and has crawled under a truck to observe a Level 1 inspection.

Other priorities for the Department of Transportation include a truck action plan to increase driving apprenticeships, and encouragement at the state level to accelerate use of the Truck Parking Development Handbook, which was issued in September to expand truck parking.

Robin Hutcheson speaking at Accelerate! Conference & Expo

Hutcheson told attendees about the recent formation at FMCSA of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board. (Jaren Collins/JCi Creatives)

More broadly, Hutcheson stressed that she has made gaining knowledge about the trucking industry a priority to advance her understanding of how the industry works, as well as how FMCSA’s actions impact it. She also stressed that FMCSA’s core mission is safety, particularly for large trucks and buses. “Data shows an experienced driver is a safe driver,” she said.

That’s especially true for the safety of women, she said, citing a study that addressed incidents of sexual harassment women truck drivers sometimes face. “Men in the room, you should find this disturbing and unacceptable,” Hutcheson said.

She emphasized that the trucking industry “is a major part of American commerce. You deserve our hard work on issues like gender equality.”

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