Today around 100,000 women drive trucks, many people wonder what inspires women to enter this business. A great place to look to find a great source of inspiration is the story of the first female truck driver.
Lillie Elizabeth Drennan was not only the first licensed female truck driver, she also was the first female trucking firm owner in the United States. At the age of 22 she lost most of her hearing ability as a result of the scarlet fever that she suffered. In March of 1928 she and her second husband Willard Ernest Drennan decided to start in the trucking business in Hempstead, Texas. The first truck that Lillie drove was a closed-cab Chevrolet. When their business progressed they bought more trucks and hired more drivers.
In 1929 the Railroad Commission supervised motor freight businesses across Texas. Commission examiners thought that Lillies hearing impairment made her a risk for safety but she replied stating that no man could beat her driving record and she was right. Examiners acknowledged this and decided to grant her a commercial truck driver's license.
Lillie divorced Willard Ernest in 1929 and became the sole owner of Drennan Truck Line. Five years later she also gained sole ownership of a soft drinking bottling plant in Texas that she and Willard acquired years ago.
She never had an accident. Specialists recognized the driving and managing skills that she demonstrated in the 22 years that she operated the Drennan Truck Line. She received many safety awards from the Railroad Commission and the Texas Motor Transportation Association.
Lillie died on September 10, 1974 in Hempstead, Texas but her legacy will keep inspiring everyone forever.