GENERAL TRUCKING TERMS
Weight carried by
A haul that
returns you to home or base of operation.
The distance from
the truck's front bumper to the back of its cab.
The weight shown
on a freight bill.
transportation contract between shipper and carrier; it identifies who receives
the freight and the place of delivery. It also gives terms of the agreement.
operating without a trailer.
accidents during non trucking use (i.e., not hauling a load; during maintenance
of how far apart the axles must be to legally carry a given weight.
A person who
arranges loads for owner/operators.
freight, (for example, petroleum products).
Insurance on the freight paid for by the carrier.
A person, partnership or corporation engaged in the
business of transporting goods.
Carrier's claim on property it has transported as
security for charges.
Money received from carrier generally used for fuel
and deducted from owner operator's final settlement check.
Commercial Driver's License: A license which
authorizes an individual to operate commercial motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds
gross vehicle weight.
An accident that a driver could have prevented
whether or not it was his fault.
Those temporary costs assumed by the carrier for
independent contractors. It is understood through the lease that these costs
will be charged back to the independent contractor usually at settlement.
An organization set up to process and collect bills
for participating trucking companies.
Cab-Over-Engine: Truck/tractor design where the cab
sits over the engine on the chassis.
Any article of commerce, including raw material,
manufactured or grown products.
Certificate from the ICC that allows the holder to
haul regulated commodities in a for-hire trucking operation.
Insurance that covers transportation company's
liability for loss of, or damage to, cargo or property being transported by
The person or firm to whom articles are shipped.
The person or firm who shipped the product.
A shipping system based on large cargo carrying
containers that can be easily interchanged between trucks.
Truckers who are providing dedicated service under
contract to specific shippers using an ICC certificate.
A trailer with a bulkhead, doors
and a roof and sides that are made to open like drapes on a window
and is used for products that have to
be loaded or unloaded from ground level, and must also be protected from the
environment. This type of trailer allows for easy loading and unloading and
protects the freight from the weather without the need for tarps.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance: An organization
of federal, state and provincial government agencies and representatives from
private industry dedicated to improving commercial safety.
Operating a truck with no load.
Detention of a
vehicle beyond the time normally allowed for loading, unloading, etc.
Insurance policy that covers income if a truck
driver is unable to work for a few weeks or more.
A person who schedules and controls intercity
traffic and intra-city pickup and delivery.
States Department of Transportation
A tractor with two semi trailers connected in tandem
by a converter dolly.
Trucking goods from a warehouse to a rail yard or
vice versa. Drayage is the trucking component of intermodal transportation.
Truckers hauling certain commodities that are exempt
that may be transported in both interstate and intrastate commerce without
operating authority ICC.
Commodities that are moved interstate and intrastate
by truck and not subject to regulation (i.e., any fresh fruit or vegetables
Free on Board: Usually indicates place where
responsibility for expenses and risk for goods is passed from seller to buyer.
A heavy metal device mounted atop the rear axles and
wheels of a tractor which engages the kingpin underneath the nose of a trailer.
When engaged, the trailer is then locked to the tractor for movement and the
lubricated faceplate of the fifth wheel allows the seated flat plate around the
trailer's kingpin to rotate smoothly when the tractor and trailer make turns.
An open trailer with only a front bulkhead. It has
no walls, roof, or doors and is used for products that have to be loaded or
unloaded from ground level, such as building materials.
Being forced to take a load whether the driver wants
to or not.
Any commodity being transported.
Document for a shipment with the description of the
freight, weight, charges, rate for charges, taxes and whether it is a prepaid or
Payment due for the transportation of the freight
Taxes paid to each state a vehicle runs in based on
miles driven in that state.
Gross Combination Weight: Total weight of tractor-
trailer combinations, including trucks, trailers and payload.
Gross Vehicle Weight: Total weight of the loaded
vehicle, including chassis, body and payload. Used to refer to the maximum GVW
allowed by D.O.T. regulations.
Glad Hand Lock
A lockable device that interlocks with the pneumatic
fittings (brake line connectors) of a trailer that prevents a tractor from
connecting to the brake lines for towing. This is a basic security device
Short for hazardous material; refers to product that
may pose a risk to personal health and safety, environment or property, if
improperly transported, handled, stored or damaged. Examples include
flammables, corrosives, explosives, and poisons. The handling and transportation
of such products are strictly regulated by several governmental agencies.
Interstate Commerce Commission: The federal body
charged with enforcement of acts of Congress affecting interstate commerce.
International Fuel Tax Agreement A system of
centralized fuel tax payment allowing truckers to pay all state fuel taxes to a
collection agency. This agency disburses funds to each state or provincial
agency based on the total miles you reported traveling in each state.
Independent contractors are owner operators who
lease themselves and their vehicles to trucking companies regulated by the ICC.
Transportation movement involving more than one
mode, example, rail motor, motor air, or rail water.
Within a state.
Placing the tractor/trailer at a very sharp angle
resulting from lock-up of tractor drive axle(s).
Kingpin is a broad, heavy metal bit or pin of steel
located on the underside of the noise of a trailer or chassis. The kingpin
engages the fifth wheel on a tractor and when locked in place enables the
trailer to be towed by the tractor
A heavy locked mechanism that fits over the kingpin
on a trailer and which prevents the trailer from engaging the fifth wheel of the
tractor and, therefore, prevents movement. A basic trailer security device.
The freight in a truck.
Metal legs with a pad at the foot that support the
front of a trailer when it is not hooked to a tractor. The landing gear is
cranked down until the trailer pad is lifted off the trailer's fifth wheel
before the tractor pulls away and cranked up under the trailer again in order to
engage the fifth wheel and trailer plates before the trailer is moved to a new
Insurance that covers any third party injuries or
The movement of freight between distant points. It
does not include pickup and delivery service, or intra-city delivery.
Distance traveled with paid freight in a trailer.
Drivers book containing daily hours, routes, etc.
They are required by DOT regulation.
Less Than Truckload: A quantity of freight that is
less than required for the application of a truckload rate.
Helpers hired to load/unload freight
A document describing a shipment or the contents of
The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program: Federal
Government program distributing monies to help states conduct effective truck
inspection and safety efforts.
A document that shows proof of adequate insurance
The National Transportation Safety Board: A Federal
Government organization charged with investigating accidents in every sector of
transportation, suggesting ways of improving transportation safety through
effective regulatory requirements, and reporting on its findings and conclusions
Over the road drivers.
A person who owns one or more trucks and personally
drives at least one of them. Also known as a small fleet owner operator if more
than one vehicle is owned.
Total weight of the commodity carried on a truck
including packaging, banding, etc.
A lease for at least 30 days where an owner operator
leases himself and his equipment to a regulated carrier.
Permission granted to carriers by states to
transport freight exceeding legal weight and size limits.
trailer that can be transported on a rail car and also pulled by a tractor.
A transportation system in which truck trailers are
carried on railroad flatcars.
Preventive maintenance inspection
Pre Trip Inspection
A walk around inspection of a truck that every
driver is required to perform prior to every trip in a commercial vehicle. This
involves following a complete check list related to the particular type of
vehicle being inspected. The pre-trip inspection is considered by experts to be
one of the most neglected, potentially effective means of improving truck
A company that has its own trucks to transport its
To distribute proportionately.
A short trailer, typically 28', that can either be
handled alone or in tandem with a second trailer
The charge for transporting freight
A refrigerated trailer, container, or railcar used
for either frozen or refrigerated foods.
Commodities that are transported under governmental
Carriers that transport general commodities that are
regulated by the ICC.
Road Use Taxes
Annual federal tax applied to each vehicle.
Standard Carrier Alpha Code; a
unique 2 to 4-letter code assigned to transportation companies for
identification purposes. SCAC codes are required for EDI, and are printed on
bills of lading and other transportation documents. WhiteStar Logistics SCAC
code is "CUFO."
A place where trucks are weighed to ensure that GVW
and axle weights are below permissible levels.
A simple device, typically made of plastic or thin
metal and carrying a unique identification number used to "seal" a
transportation vehicle and to detect whether or not the vehicle has been opened
without authorization. Seals are constructed so that they must be cut or broken
in order to open the vehicle doors.
A net amount paid for hauling a load.
A charge above the usual or customary charge.
An additional or extra tax.
An assembly of two axles, either of which may be
A published rate for hauling goods
A full or nearly full trailer of goods. Usually the
shipment is made without stopover to load/unload.
that pulls a trailer or container
A wheeled transportation vehicle with attached
wheels and landing gear, pulled by a tractor (together called a tractor trailer)
to transport cargo. A container on chassis is also commonly called a trailer
although this is not strictly correct. The most common trailer is a "van" or
"dry box" enclosed dry trailer. Trailers come in other types however: such as
reefers, which are temperature controlled, flat beds, tanks, etc. Trailers also
come in many sizes: 53' is most common, but there are 28', 40', 45', 48', and
53' and 57' sizes. Dry vans have two door types: swing door and roll up doors.
This insurance covers loss to shippers because of an
accident to goods in transit.
On- Board Computer - Cab mounted device which
records data such as speed, engine rpm, idle time and any other information that
may be useful to trucking management.
U.S. DOT Number
Vehicle Registration Number. U.S Dot numbers are
supplied without charge, and are required for all vehicles exceeding 10,000 lbs.
GVW or GCW.
dry enclosed trailer. The most common type of