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New Brunswick woman calls for trucking industry to better protect female drivers

Click to play video: 'N.B. driver says more needs to be done to protect female truck drivers'
N.B. driver says more needs to be done to protect female truck drivers
As trucking companies across Canada continue to face driver shortages, efforts are underway to recruit more female drivers. But according to a New Brunswick woman who says she was harassed while on the road, more needs to be done to protect women behind the wheel. Shelley Steeves reports – May 17, 2024

A New Brunswick woman who said she was harassed by other drivers while working as a trucker is calling for the industry to be more aware of women’s safety.

Allie Fanjoy of Moncton says she was sexually assaulted at a truck stop in the U.S. by another trucker while working as a driver and is still experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“His hands were down my shirt, they were down my pants, and I could not get away from him. The worst part is there were other men walking by and they did nothing,” said Fanjoy, who said she has not been able to work since the trauma.

The man who she says assaulted her admitted to wrongdoing and was immediately fired after she reported the incident to his employer, which was very supportive, she said.

She is now speaking out, calling for other drivers to be more welcoming of women and for trucking companies to be more mindful of the safety of female drivers.

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“So many men still view female truck drivers as lot lizards with licences,” she said.

According to Trucking HR Canada, the number of women entering the trucking industry increased by 43 per cent from 2016 to 2021, yet only four per cent of truck drivers in Canada are women.

Of those currently working in the industry, Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter said their latest research survey shows that “89 per cent of those women said that they would recommend this industry to other women.”

According to their recent report, which included career-seeking women outside of the industry, “there is the perception that the industry is unsafe and that is what we clearly want to address,” Splinter said.

“We have studies that show the rates of violence and harassment in our industry are no higher than other industries.”

Splinter says they are working with trucking companies across Canada to become more welcoming of women.

“We know we need more women in our industry, so we are working really hard at addressing those issues and working with employers to improve,” she said.

Trucking HR Canada is also providing tools and resources to help employers attract, recruit and retain more women. The survey findings and research materials in a report called “Moment with Drive: Maintain our Momentum.”

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Fanjoy says companies need to have more concrete harassment policies and train their drivers about how to treat women with more respect and as equals while on the road.

“If you are in a truck stop, your behaviour still needs to reflect the same standards that you would have if you were sitting in an office,” she said.

She says there should also be more considerations regarding safety when women are being dispatched,

“Don’t run a woman on a run that is so tight that she may only have the back of a parking lot to park in.”

While she says she will never return to the industry, she says she still loved trucking and would recommend it to any female driver, as long as their safety is the top priority.

“With the younger generation coming up, hopefully the change will happen.”

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