Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels -

A LEAS­ING com­pany is mak­ing it eas­ier for women to get be­hind the wheel of big trucks in the US.

Many Amer­i­can women are al­ready driv­ing heavy duty trucks but many oth­ers are put off by the de­sign of some of the ve­hi­cles.

Most of the con­cerns are to do with the con­trols, given that most Amer­i­can rigs are de­signed to ac­com­mo­date larger in­di­vid­u­als.

Now Ry­der truck rentals has come up with what it calls a fe­male-friendly lease truck pack­age, hav­ing con­sulted the Women in Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion lobby group and lead­ing US truck man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The cus­tom lay­out, which can be added to a range of trucks, in­cludes up to 15 mod­i­fi­ca­tions all de­signed to make big rigs more ac­ces­si­ble for fe­male driv­ers.

Th­ese in­clude, among other things: er­gonomic seats, taller arm­rests, bon­net open­ing as­sis­tance mech­a­nisms, au­to­matic land­ing gear for trail­ers, au­to­mated turntable lock­ing, eas­ier-to-reach grab han­dles in the cab, bet­ter mech­a­nisms to check on oil and coolant, re­vised in­stru­ment clus­ters, ad­justable seat belt shoul­der pads and im­proved se­cu­rity for when the driver is in the cab.

Depend­ing on the make and model, most op­tions will be avail­able.

Women in Truck­ing has been push­ing for bet­ter de­signed trucks for some time. Ry­der’s ini­tia­tive is likely to have greater im­pact be­cause it buys so many trucks — man­u­fac­tur­ers will pay at­ten­tion.

“There is re­ally is no one in a more suit­able po­si­tion to pro­vide feed­back on this is­sue to man­u­fac­tur­ers than Ry­der,” says Peter­bilt and Ken­worth fleet busi­ness chief Steve Sch­motzer.

“We are proud to sup­port this ini­tia­tive, which is crit­i­cal to ad­dress­ing a press­ing in­dus­try need.”

Ry­der sup­ply man­age­ment head Scott Perry says shorter male driv­ers also could ben­e­fit from the changes. “This cus­tom truck pack­age is not only more er­gonom­i­cally friendly to women but will also ben­e­fit driv­ers with the same types of needs,” he says.

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