TravelCenters of America VP Embarks on Safety Road Trip

She’ll spend a week driving to gain firsthand insights into the female trucking experience.

May 14, 2024

TravelCenters of America Retail Operations Support Vice President Debbie Shelton begins a weeklong trucking road trip today as part of the company’s mission to elevate safety standards at its sites.

Shelton will spend a week driving with Violet Helferich from ACE Doran Hauling & Rigging Co., a division of the Bennett Family of Companies, to learn what female truck drivers face on the job and ultimately improve safety, especially for women.

The two will drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Seymour, Texas, and then to a wind farm in Texas.

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to ride alongside a female professional driver and witness firsthand the intricacies of their roles and the challenges they navigate daily,” Shelton said. “This journey aligns perfectly with TA’s commitment to diversity and safety within the transportation industry.”

Shelton said she hopes to leverage the insights gained from this journey to spearhead further initiatives that promote safety at TA’s travel centers, supporting the company’s overarching goal of enhancing the experience for all guests.

In March (Women’s Safety Month), TravelCenters of America announced its new initiatives aimed at increasing site safety for guests and team members, highlighting the unique challenges faced by female drivers.

Women make up approximately 12% of professional drivers according to the 2023 Women in Trucking Index, and 43% of TA’s workforce. The company’s new campaign, “Inspire Inclusion,” focuses on “understanding and valuing women’s experiences and viewpoints, in an effort to create positive industry change,” said the company in a press release.

The company also started a Women’s Safety Advisory Group to bring together trucking industry members to discuss safety enhancements from female perspectives.

In February, TA celebrated reaching the milestone of 300 travel centers.