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Why are women truck drivers safer than men?

As the need for truckers has grown, trucking companies have begun recruiting older as well as younger drivers. They've also increased their recruitment of female truckers.

When actress Ann B. Davis made a brief appearance in The Brady Bunch Movie as a trucker named Schultzy (named for a character she'd created years earlier on another show) rather than in her iconic role as the family housekeeper Alice, women truckers were less common than they are now.

So, how do women fare as heavy-duty truck drivers? According to a recent study, they're safer than their male counterparts.

An analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) looked at female vs. male truck drivers behaviors that are considered "crash predictors." The study found that men were 20 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than women. Overall, women were less likely to engage in reckless driving and dangerous behaviors, including failure to yield, running through stop lights and not wearing a seat belt.

The head of the nonprofit Women in Trucking Association says she's not surprised by the findings. "We always knew that women were safer drivers. We just didn't have proof." She chalks it up, at least in part, to biology. "Women are more risk-averse. It's because of our maternal roots. We activate the fear factor faster than men." Even when female truck drivers are involved in crashes, she notes, they aren't typically as serious as those involving male drivers because they're not driving as fast.

One training professional who has taught female truckers notes that women who are learning the ropes are more likely to ask questions and seek help than men. Research has shown that female drivers are also more likely to leave the position if they have safety concerns about things like equipment, the weather or the decisions of dispatchers.

The vast majority of truck drivers, male and female, do their jobs without being involved in a crash. However, when crashes involving a large truck occur, the injuries to those involved can be severe and life-changing. That's why it's essential for victims of an at-fault truck driver to investigate all of their options for seeking compensation for medical costs, rehabilitation, lost income and other costs and damages.

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