Company driver trains other women to hit the road

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Updated Feb 22, 2017

Thanks to Candace Marley, 12 more women are joining the ranks of American truck drivers.

Marley, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been a driver trainer for Don Hummer Trucking for about two years, and said she loves helping other women learn about the industry.

“I take a lot of pride in helping women break into the industry. I call them all my baby truckers. They once nicknamed me Mother Trucker and now that’s what I go by on the CB,” she said.

Candace Marley (Image Courtesy of Candace Marley)Candace Marley (Image Courtesy of Candace Marley)

Marley started driving in 2009 and she now hauls dry van and reefer over the road. She said the biggest obstacle she’s seen for women in the trucking industry is the difficulty of leaving their children at home, for those who are mothers. It can be difficult for them to find someone to help take care of their kids while they’re on the road.

“They’re coming in unprepared for what’s going to happen with the children and that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve seen personally for why women come in and don’t stick with it. It has to do with the children,” Marley said.

Beyond knowing what to expect when it comes to their kids, Marley has one other big piece of advice for women interested in a trucking career: Leave self-doubt at home. Marley herself was hesitant to get into trucking originally because she’d didn’t believe she could do it. She explains:

“Don’t ever think you don’t have the ability to do it because that’s what I thought before I got into it. I think a lot of women think there’s no way they could ever do something like drive a truck, that it is not a woman’s job. I have been told by numerous men that they think women are better drivers than men are. We’re more patient, we’re more safety conscious, we’re generally not as rough on our trucks. I think women are a good fit for the industry, we’ve just got to get more of them to realize they can do this.”

When it comes to scouting out a trucking company to possibly join, Marley advises women to listen to what other women are saying about specific companies.

“Pay attention to what other women are saying. Get out there on the social media groups and the message boards for trucking and pay attention to what other women are saying about the company’s that they’re with,” she said.

Candace Marley, pictured center in an orange vest, looks out onto her company’s training yard. (Image Courtesy of Candace Marley)Candace Marley, pictured center in an orange vest, looks out onto her company’s training yard. (Image Courtesy of Candace Marley)

She first got into trucking after her late husband, who was a trucker, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. She’d been working as a cashier in a grocery store but once he was diagnosed, she needed a career change that would help her better support her family.

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“When they made the diagnosis he was actually too sick at that point to work anymore and my income wasn’t going to cut it so basically said if you can’t do it, I will,” Marley said. 

Her whole life, Marley says, she’s been unable to stick with one job for too long because she loses interest. Trucking has been the exception.

“I enjoy it. I love what I do. I take the same route to California on a regular basis and it seems like every time I come through here I notice something new. You can see a mountain in the morning one time and when you come back through in the evening it looks totally different,” Marley said.