Watch CBS News

What is driving more and more women to take up trucking

What is driving more and more women to take up trucking
What is driving more and more women to take up trucking 02:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For this Women's History Month, we have the story of some small, but mighty women joining the male-dominated industry of trucking.

CBS 2's Lauren Victory shared Friday what is driving them to hop behind the wheel.

Semi-trailer trucks may be filled with grease and covered in grime – but in an increasing number of them, you'll find bubbly personalities and painted fingernails.

"They all know me, because I'm always smiling," said UPS truck driver Mimertha Fuentes.

Fuentes said people sometimes do a double take when she gets out of the truck.

"They look at me like, how is she driving that?" she said.

The 5-foot-tall Fuentes can handle the beasts that are UPS semis after handling kids as a stay-at-home mom for 17 years.

She initially got her manicured hands dirty as a part-time package handler at UPS. Then, the company paid for her to train as a truck driver.

Fuentes is on track to make more than six figures a year after a few years.

Why truck driving?

"The money," Fuentes said. "The money, the benefits, insurance – everything."

Word is getting out to other women, such like Jamiah McCray.

The prospective trucker is practicing for her commercial driver's license.

"I hope to venture out and probably do on the road just to get some experience; see if I really, really like it and if it's something I want to do - and from there, of course, I would want to be like an owner/operator," McCray said.

Steve Gold founded 160 Driving Academy, a training program with multiple locations in Illinois.

"You don't have to be on the highway, eating at truck stops," Gold said. "I mean, there's a notion I think that that's what the American truck driver is all about."

Gold tells us female enrollment is between 12 and 14 percent – up from 10 percent.

"There's nothing different about training a male versus a female," he said.

There may, however, be a difference on the road. The Women In Trucking Association says ladies behind the wheel are "less likely to take risks" than their male comments.

"I never imagined I was going to be doing that," Fuentes said. "So here I am."

Fuentes hopes to inspire other women to test-drive trucking.

The Women In Trucking Association surveys transportation companies on a yearly basis. The latest numbers from 2022 show almost 14 percent of professional drivers are female.

That is up 30 percent in just a few years. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.