TRUCKING INDUSTRY TERMINOLOGY: A GLOSSARY OF TERMS
ABS (Anti-lock Brakes) – Computer, sensor, breaks monitoring wheel speed. Helps the driver retain control over the vehicle while breaking in hazardous conditions.
Air Ride Suspension – A suspension that supports the load with rubber bags rather than steel springs.
Anchor It – Hitting the breaks for an emergency stop.
Balloon Freight – Cargo that takes up a lot of space but does not weight very much.
Bill of Lading – The itemized list of goods in a shipment.
Blind Spot – Areas around the commercial vehicle that are not visible to the driver.
Bobtail – A tractor operating without a trailer. Also can refer to a straight truck.
Broker – A company that arranges the transportation of cargo for others. The broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo or take possession.
Bulk Freight – Cargo that is not in containers. They are normally transported in tankers, grain trailers, and van trailers.
Cabover – An abbreviation for “cab over engine” where the cab sits over the engine of the chassis.
CAT – The scales used at truck stops to read the weight of the load.
Cargo Weight – The total weight of the loads on a vehicle.
Cartage Company – A company that provides local pick-up and delivery.
CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) – A special license authorizing an individual the opportunity to operate a commercial vehicle or bus weighing more than 26,000.
Check Call – Using the Qualcomm or telephone to check in with your dispatcher. Usually takes place in the morning.
Clearance Lights – The lights located on the front and back of the trailers. Sometimes called marker lights.
Container – A Long rectangular box used to transport goods.
Converter Dolly – An auxiliary axle assembly that has a fifth wheel towed by a semi trailer that is supporting the front of another semitrailer.
Day Cab – A tractor with no sleeper compartment.
Deadhead – Driving a trailer without cargo.
Double (also known as Twins, Twin Trailers) – A tractor and two semi trailers connected by a converter dolly.
Drop Pay – Extra pay for a delivery or extra stop.
Dry Freight – Freight that doesn’t require refrigeration.
Empty Call – Informing your dispatcher that you have no load/empty and ready for new assignment.
EOBR (Electric On-Board Recorder) – A device mounted on the cab that records speed, engine rpm, idle time and other information.
Exempt Carrier – A company that is exempt from Interstate Commerce Commission economic regulation.
Fingerprinting – When the driver unloads the cargo by himself.
For-Hire Carrier – A company that transports third-party freight/cargo.
Freight – The cargo and items you are hauling.
Hazmat – Hazardous materials on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These materials are strictly regulated in the U.S. by the Department of Transportation.
Hours-of-Service – Governed hours of service for commercial vehicles overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Intermodal Transportation – The transportation of goods through more than one method (ex: rail/motor, motor/air)
JIT (Just-in-Time) – A manufacturing system that utilizes frequent and smaller deliveries to keep inventory low.
LCV (Long Combination Vehicle) – A vehicle that is longer than the standard double-rig.
Logbook – The book truckers use to keep up with their hours and status.
Line-haul Driver – Also known as a regional driver, these truckers travel a set route and can go home afterward.
Local Driver – Tuckers who deliver packages. They typically run the same route every day.
LTL (Less-than-Truckload) – A freight that is less than 10,000 pounds and doesn’t fill up the entire container.
LTL Carrier – Companies who consolidates LTL over multiple destinations.
Moto Carrier – A company that provides truck transportation.
Owner-Operator – When you own and operate your own truck.
Over-the-Road Driver – A driver who travels across the country and sleeps in the cab.
P&D – Pickup and delivery.
Payload – The entire weight of the cargo.
Peddle Run – A run with frequent stops.
Private Carrier – A company or business that transports goods using their own trucks.
Professional Truck Driver – The name for drivers that include line-haul, local, and over-the-road.
Reefer – A trailer with refrigeration used to transport food.
Semi Trailer – Truck trailer support in the rear by wheels and a fifth mounted to a tractor/dolly.
Sleeper – The area at the back of the cab built for sleeping.
Straight Truck – A truck that carries cargo that is mounted to the chassis rather than towed by the trailer.
TL (Truckload) – The amount of freight needed to fill a trailer. Will be greater than 10,000 pounds.
TL Carrier – When a company utilizes an entire trailer to move a shipper’s cargo.
Tractor – A truck that pulls a semi trailer by the use of the fifth wheel mounted over the drive/axles.
Tractor Trailer – A combination of a tractor and semitrailer.
Tri-Axle – When three axles are grouped together at the rear of a truck or trailer.
Trip Leasing – When a company leases its vehicle to another provider for a single trip.
WIM (Weigh-in-Motion) – The system that allows a vehicle to be weighed while still in motion on the interstate.
Weigh Station – a roadside station where commercial vehicles are required to stop for inspection.