Carriers that provide paid lodging for drivers said sleeping in hotel rooms not only improves their quality of rest, but also provides them with a greater sense of security.
Steve Bramble, director of talent acquisition for Holland, a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide, said drivers feel safer sleeping in hotels.
“There is something to having the lock on the door that people get more comfortable with,” he said.
Carbon Express recently added two female drivers, and both said they felt much better about staying in hotels and motels.
“That is a big thing that attracted them to us,” said company owner Steve Rush.
Ellen Voie, president of Women In Trucking, said carriers opting for hotels over sleeper berths could be particularly beneficial to drivers during training situations, especially in male-female scenarios.
“I think when you’ve got two opposite-gender people in the cab of a truck, it makes more sense to put them in a hotel,” she said. “Imagine your 24-year-old daughter says she just completed her CDL training, but now she has to share a room with a coworker.”
Training periods can range from as little as two weeks to as long as six weeks depending on the company and drivers’ experience, Voie said.
“When people come to this industry, we say, ‘You’re going to share a small sleeper berth,’ ” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be that close to someone who I don’t know.”
What’s more, there is a power structure between a trainee and trainer, Voie said.
“The trainer has the authority to make or break your career, at least at that company,” she said. “I think this industry needs to re-evaluate sleeping arrangements.”
Bramble said drivers undergoing training at Holland receive separate rooms, which appeals to all drivers regardless of gender.