Ryder commercial fleet management solution provider Ryder System, Inc. is rolling out a new heavy truck that may help with the national shortage of truck drivers.

It’s a “female-friendly” vehicle, with unique specifications designed to address the needs of women drivers. They include changes to the height and placement of cab grab handles and dash gauges, and adjustable seatbelt shoulder straps. Outside the cab, the trucks are designed to have easier access to oil and coolant checks and fill ports.

Other available options include automated transmissions, ergonomic seats and adjustable armrests, an assistance mechanism for opening and closing the hood, and automated-assist systems for the 5th wheel locking mechanism and trailer landing gear. Another available feature is a security system for the cab, offering peace of mind while the driver is in the sleeper berth.

Ryder points out that these options will appeal to many male drivers as well.

Ryder worked with various OEM heavy truck suppliers and the non-profit Women in Trucking (WIT) Association to develop the custom vehicle designs, which will be available for lease from Ryder.

The entities are working together in this spirit of cooperation to address the U.S. truck driver shortage, today estimated at 20,000 to 25,000 drivers, and expected to grow to 239,000 by 2022.

“This custom truck package is not only more ergonomically friendly to women, but will also benefit other drivers with the same types of needs,” said Scott Perry, Ryder’s vice president of Supply Management and Global Fuel Products. “Our intent is to not only help attract more women to the industry, but also to make the vehicles easier and safer for a broader range of drivers to operate. As an industry leader, we feel a responsibility to leverage our influence and find creative ways to deal with the professional truck driver shortage.”

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