Ryder System Inc (NYSE: R) will offer a female-friendly vehicle package for lease—the first of its kind in the industry.
With the help of various OEMs and the Women in Trucking Association (WIT), a non-profit organization established to encourage employment of women in the trucking industry, Ryder is making available a custom vehicle design, including 15 unique specifications, to better meet the needs of women drivers. These same ergonomic specifications will also benefit many male drivers in the industry.
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. Upon customer request, and depending upon the OEM model of vehicle, Ryder can also include these options:
•Ergonomically designed seats and adjustable armrest
•Hood lift/closure assistance mechanism
•Fifthwheel configurations with lower pull pressures to open the locking mechanism
•Automated fifthwheel locking mechanisms
•Automatic landing gear operators for trailers
•Cab security system that offers personal protection while a driver is in his/her sleeper berth
Women may be the key to unlocking the driver shortage, which is currently estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers and expected to reach 239,000 by 2022. Only 5% of professional truck drivers in the United States are women. Ryder is committed to identifying truck design gaps and influencing improvements in future vehicle designs that make driving a more attractive career option for women. For example, the company is encouraging OEMs to make adjustable foot pedal height a standard feature in future truck models. This is one item identified by women truck drivers as an important need, according to a recent survey conducted by WIT.
“Addressing driver comfort and truck cab design to accommodate the typically smaller stature of women is one of the issues where the Women In Trucking Association is prompting changes,” said Ellen Voie, president and chief executive officer of WIT. “We are so pleased to see Ryder’s efforts in moving these ergonomic challenges into the forefront of the manufacturers’ design changes.”
For more information, access www.ryder.com.