MTM Driver Tania Wong-Mills Honored by Maryland for Safe Driving Record

Tania Wong-Mills with her driver of the month trophy.

Before Tania Wong-Mills was a truck driver, she was a mother. That’s all anyone really needs to know about how the 39-year-old Jamaican immigrant and mother of four came to be honored as Driver of the Month by the Maryland Motor Truck Association.

“Being a mom taught me to be patient,” said Wong-Mills, who was recognized Feb. 9, 2024, by the MMTA for her safe driving record along with 11 of her peers.  It’s that patience, she said, that has made her a safer driver.

“It’s not easy driving on the road with these crazy people,” Wong-Mills said. “I’m not even going to lie.” Patience is the key, she added.

Tania Wong-Mills in her truck.Safety is No. 1 for a driver, said Wong-Mills. She likens taking care of her truck to going to the doctor to ensure you are healthy. “The truck is your safe zone for the hours you are sitting in it,” she said. “You’ve got to make sure you check your equipment every day.”

Wong-Mills adds that when you are out on the road you are “not just driving for yourself,” and that she is always looking for the unexpected.

Wong-Mills has been a truck driver since attending driving school in Pennsylvania in 2016. After driving for U.S. Express and Bob’s Discount Furniture, she started driving for Aberdeen, Maryland-based MTM in 2020. She drives routes as far as Pennsylvania, but says she’s “home every night” to be with her family.

MTM driver Tania Wong-Mills with her driver of the month jacket.
Tania Wong-Mills with her driver of the month jacket.

In her off time, Wong-Mills likes to read, particularly the Bible, and has a page from Psalms taped up in her cab. “Sometimes it’s stressful. When I stretch, there’s a Psalms right there,” she said, adding that it motivates her and gives her perspective. She also listens to music, news from Jaimaca and books on tape, particularly love stories.

MTM, she said, has been the best place she’s ever worked. “It’s not a company; they welcome every driver as family,” she said. “If you have a problem, they open up their arms, their ears — they listen. They don’t judge. They treat every one of us like family.”

Taylor Santiago, MTM vice president, was at the award ceremony along with another member of the MTM staff, proudly supporting Wong-Mills. “We are so proud of Tania and so excited for her accomplishments to be recognized not only by our team, but in the state of MD. It is awesome to have the parallel of being woman-owned and having our top driver also be a woman; but aside from that, we feel blessed to have our driving team over all hold themselves to a high standard and returning the respect and care for MTM and our customers.

“Tania is a wonderful example of portraying MTM’s core values and radiates such a positive energy that is felt heavily amongst the team. Great work, Tania!! Keep being you!”

Tania Wong-Mills with Taylor Santiago and Victoria Umbarger.
Tania Wong-Mills with Taylor Santiago, left, and Victoria Umbarger, right.

Wong-Mills’  20-year-old son plans to follow in his mom’s footsteps and be a driver, too. “As soon as he turns 21,” she said.

Wong-Mills hopes that winning this award will inspire other women to become truck drivers, especially for MTM. Among the 12 Maryland drivers of the month for 2023, she was the only woman. 

Women now make up 14% of U.S. truck drivers, according to the organization Women in Trucking, up from 7.9% in 2018.

MTM is ramping up efforts to encourage more women to join the profession, a fact Wong-Mills is happy about. “It would be nice to have more female drivers on this team,” she said.

And what do Wong-Mills’ children (ages 12 to 21) think of their mom’s chosen profession?

“Oh, they think I’m awesome!” she said with a radiant smile.

Tania Wong-Mills in group photo with all the truck drivers of the year for 2023.
Tania Wong-Mills in group photo with all the truck drivers of the year for 2023.