By J.J. McQueen
Special to the AFRO
With a record number of female drivers flocking to the trucking industry, more women are hitting the road and leveling the playing field in a male-dominated industry. The influx of Black women in the industry is paving the way for other women of color and has historically done so, too. In the late 1800’s, Mary Fields became the first licensed African-American female driver who worked for the United Postal Service.
Ivy Wells chose to charter the same road as the pioneering women before her. Having been raised by a single mother who worked as an educator in the Baltimore City Public School system, she has always been a hard worker. And as a mother of three herself, Wells strives to be successful for her family.
At the age of 44, Wells boasts a multitude of notable experiences, like her time working with the legendary band Earth Wind & Fire, of which she uses to remain inspired to dream beyond her days in her rig even when it gets challenging.
“It’s a tough job because you have to think for everyone around you. I’ve had unpopular moments when I’ve been stopped by law enforcement because they were curious to see a Black-female driver. In those moments I shrugged off the things that I can’t control, and urged the officers to proceed with whatever checks that they had to make as a result of the procedure of being stopped. Some things you just deal with and keep it moving.”
The Baltimore Poly graduate hopes to continue to be someone that inspires the next wave of African-American female truckers. When asked what advice she wants to leave for other females interested in trucking she said, “I recommend for them to enroll in a good reputable driving school. One where you’re really being taught vs watching someone else drive all day.”
Wells also wants people to practice safety on the road and realize what factors can be hazardous for truck drivers, too. “I want people to make safe driving decisions. For instance, when people flash their lights to go around us it’s blinding. Many don’t realize that it temporarily makes us lose visibility, and it increases the chances of crashes. I’d rather for people to just go around us safely.”
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