Though Evans believes she’s got it pretty great, others in the industry may not be as fortunate. Evans explained that no matter which carrier drivers work for, it is always difficult to raise a family as a truck driver. And daycare and the need for extended hours is a big issue for many in the industry.
“The industry is what it is,” Evans said. “It’s long hours and there’s no set start time and stop time. I could tell you that the challenge I face and a lot of men and women face is having children and being there for your children. That’s just the nature of the beast. Thinking I can be off at 5 every day – it’s not going to happen.”
Evans and her husband have worked out a schedule to pick up their youngest child from daycare. As LTL drivers, Evans said she is fortunate that she and her husband are paid so well and that they make it home to their kids every night. But that’s not the case for a lot of OTR drivers.
According to Evans, OTR drivers don’t get paid as well, and she believes they don’t have the access that they need to gyms and healthier food options. As an OTR team driver, Evans said she was 40 lbs. heavier than she is now, mainly because her schedule consisted of eating, driving, sleeping, driving, eating – repeat.
The first summer that she started working in the LTL business, Evans said she dropped 30 lbs. in the first three months just from getting up and moving more.
“I see it all the time – OTR drivers are overweight because of the lack of moving and getting out of the driver’s seat to take a walk,” she explained.
Evans thinks the industry could set up gyms for them along their routes or near truck stops, so they’re not just walking around truck stops for exercise. She also believes the industry as a whole could attract and retain OTR drivers with better pay and benefits.
Voie told Fleet Owner that another challenge in the industry is driver safety and security both in and outside of the cab. WIT is pushing for the design of truck cab security systems that alerts a driver if someone attempts to break into the cab while the driver is sleeping, she said. “That protects both men and women,” she added.
Regardless of the challenges that she has faced, Evans loves her job and remains passionate and proud as she describes the industry as a whole. She becomes particularly energetic when she mentions her family and the Saia Sisterhood, an organized group of female drivers at the company.
And even though she never became a high school band director, Evans is still using her musical talents as the choir director at her church.