A glaringly obvious answer to America’s truck driver shortage

Understaffed trucking companies are trying to roll back child labor rules. Why not just stop discriminating against women?

October 25, 2023 8:30 pm
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Seemingly intractable problems sometimes have an obvious solution standing right in front of them. Our nation’s dire shortage of long-haul truck drivers, for example.

Wrangling big rigs across the country is difficult and dangerous work, and the corporate giants that dominate the industry have long been wailing that they can’t find people willing to do the job.

Their lobbyists have even pleaded with regulators to lower the age requirement so they can hire teenagers to drive these 18-wheel behemoths! What could go wrong with that?

Is there no better solution than child labor? How about us, asks the nonprofit group Real Women in Trucking?

A little known fact: Less than 5% of America’s long-haul drivers are women. And a lesser known fact: Thousands of women are eager to do the job, are fully qualified, and hold commercial licenses to drive the rigs. But they’re constantly rejected when they apply for openings at trucking companies.

This is because most of the industry imposes a discriminatory standard to reject qualified female applicants. The gimmick is an unwritten, unlawful corporate rule, mandating that female job candidates can only be trained by female driving instructors.

Obviously, since there are so few women drivers, very few female trainers are available, so women can’t get hired.

This is tooth-achingly stupid.

Major corporations are loudly crying “labor shortage” while the answer to the shortage is literally knocking on their doors. These are often well paying jobs, one of the few available to people without college degrees. So trucking corporations are literally slamming the door to the middle class in the face of enterprising women.

My words to the industry: Stop crying, answer the knock, and hire the women! To learn more about this story, go to

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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by