Topless Trucking

The subject line for this Thought for the Weekend isn’t just an attention grabber–it’s true! While I’ve been logging some miles on the road this week, Pam and Mary have been reading about women on the road. Female truckers, to be exact. In the current issue (June 2012) of O Magazine, one feature article profiles a spunky female trucker named Shannon “Sputter” Smith.

The article states that there are 3.5 million truckers in America, less than 6% of them (approximately 200,000) women. It goes on to profile Sputter, her royal blue International 9400 Eagle truck with a 500-horsepower Cummins ISX engine, and a slice of her life on the road. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“It takes a special person to be a trucker, Sputter thinks. You have to have a sense of responsibility and you have to remember people need the stuff you’re hauling. One day a trailer full of soup, another day juice, carpet, bleach, ketchup and mustard packets. She has hauled all that. She has hauled mail, oxygen tanks, caskets, fireworks, plastic eating utensils, tissue, paper towels, cardboard, books, sales inserts for newspapers, bundles of shredded paper and aluminum cans, paint, cat litter, dog food, toys, garbage, garbage cans, TVs, DVDs, camcorders, Whirlpool products, plant pots, military ammunition and tank parts, freezer coolers, oil, batteries, hydrochloric acid, white powder calcium, liquid chemical solvents, aluminum ingots, powder coating, 50-gallon drums of car wash liquid, and literally tons of auto parts: crankshafts, bumpers, rims, doors, gas tanks, windows. It’s like everything is in bits and pieces all over the country and she’s hauling it so people can put it together. It makes her feel like she’s a part of something big.”

But the article is far from sentimental. It also tells a story of how one hot night, while struggling to stay awake behind the wheel, Sputter rolled down the windows, took of her shirt, wriggled out of her bra,turned on the cab lights and kept on trucking. “Northbound naked chick!” she heard her fellow truckers exclaim on channel 19. She thrust her chest forward and drove two and half more hours until she reached Cleveland!

Here’s what Pam and Mary thought of the article:

Pam: “Awesome article! I am all for women doing the same jobs as men. It is the person who decides whether they are good at a job not the gender. Matchmaker has a couple of regular carriers with female drivers and they do just as good of a job as the men. Unlike Sputter, I would never have the guts to ride down the road topless, but more power to the women that do!”

Mary: “I agree with the article that it is tough for women in the trucking industry.  I think it would have been a better read if the article explained any challenges she had making it as a woman in the industry. Did she get the same respect when she first started driving? Personally, I would consider driving a truck. It would open my eyes to all that drivers have to deal with on a regular basis. It is hard for us as dispatchers sitting behind a desk to see the risk that these drivers take every day. But, I can assure you that I would never consider removing my shirt and bra to keep awake! I don’t think Bob would want Pam and I doing that! LOL!”

Pam and Mary are right. Although I would never condone or promote such behavior in the workplace, I can’t resist this sign off:

Here’s to an easy-breezy Memorial Day Weekend,


We salute our troops and remember all who served before them.