Trucking Industry Abbreviation and Acronym Cheatsheet

Jason Forrest

The OTR O/O pulled into the scales and then off to the side for a random DOT inspection. They declared him OOS and added CSA points to his record because not only was his CDL out of date, but he was also over on his HOS, his PTI hadn’t been done, his ERG was several years too old, and because his ECM was malfunctioning, he was in direct violation of regulations set down by CARB.

For someone new or unfamiliar with the business, such a situation might just as well be Chinese. The number of acronyms related to the trucking industry is numerous, but we’ve put together a list of some you might run across.

Acronym Meaning Notes
3PL Third-party Logistics Provider  
AAMVA American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators  
AAPA American Association of Port Authorities  
AASHTO American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials  
APU Auxiliary Power Unit  
AVI Automatic Vehicle Identification (an onboard transponder)
AVL Automated Vehicle Location (locates a vehicle for fleet management or stolen vehicles)
BBC Bumper to Back of Cab (the distance between the front bumper and the back of the cab)
bhp Brake HorsePower  
BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics  
CARB California Air Resources Board  
CBP Customs Border Protection  
CDL/CLP Commercial Driver License/Commercial Learners Permit  
CDLIS Commercial Drivers License system  
CG Center of Gravity  
CMV Commercial Motor Vehicle  
CNG Compressed Natural Gas  
COE Cab-Over Engine or Cabover  
COFC Container on FlatCar (shipping containers on railroad flat cars)
COOL Credentialling Opportunities On-Line (for drivers coming out of military service)
CPM Cents Per Mile  
CSA Compliance, Safety, Accountability  
CVO Commercial Vehicle Operations  
DC Distribution Center  
DOD Department of Defense  
ECM or ECU Electronic Control Module or Electronic Control Unit  
EDI Electronic Data Interchange  
EOBR/ELD Electronic On-Board Recorders, which became Electronic Logging Devices  
ERG Emergency Response Guidebook (needed for Hazmat or Hazardous Materials)
FAK Freight All Kinds  
FAST Free and Secure Trade  
FHWA Federal HighWay Administration  
FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  
FTZ Free Trade Zone  
GAWR Gross Axle Weight Rating  
GCW Gross Combination Weight  
GVW Gross Vehicle Weight  
GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating  
HHG House Hold Goods  
HOS Hours of Service  
ICC Interstate Commerce Commission  
IFTA International Fuel Tax Agreement (an arrangement between Canada and the United States)
IRP International Registration Plan  
ITHS Intelligent Transportation Highway Systems  
ITS Intelligent Transportation Systems (replaced ITHS
JIT Just-in-time (freight that must be on location by an exact time)
LCU Long Combination Vehicle  
LO/LO cargo Lift-On/Lift-Off cargo (must be lifted on and off a trailer)
LOS Level of Service (a qualitative assessment of a road’s operating condition)
LTL Less than TruckLoad (includes freight between 100-20,000 pounds, and needing trailers less than 48 or 53 feet.
MC Motor Carrier  
MVR Motor Vehicle Report  
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement  
NASTC National Association of Small Trucking Companies  
NDR National Driver Registry  
NHS Nation Highway System  
NTSB National Transportation Safety Board  
O/O Owner Operator  
OODIA Owner Operator Independent Driver Association  
OOSO/OOS Out Of Service Orders/Out Of Service  
OS&D Over, Short & Damaged (goods which arrive damaged and a claim is filed against a carrier)
OTR Over the Road  
P&D Pick-up & Delivery  
PO Purchase Order  
POD Proof of Delivery  
POE Port of Entry  
POS Point of Sale  
PR Ply Rating (for tires)
PTI Pre-Trip Inspection  
PTO Power Take Off (a device that transmits engine power to auxiliary equipment such as hydraulic pumps
RFG ReFormulated Gasoline  
RFID Radio Frequency  
RO/RO cargo Roll-On/Roll-Off cargo (Cargo that has wheels or chassis which can be driven on or off)
RQ Reportable Quantities (associated with Hazmat)
RTV Return to Vendor  
SED Shipper’s Export Declaration  
SKU Stock Keeping Unit  
TEU Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit  
TIDA Trucking Industry Defense Association  
TL Truck Load  
TOFC Trailers on Flat Cars (Trailers or semitrailers on Railroad Flat Cars)
UFC Uniform Freight Classification  
ULEV Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle  
USDOT United States Department of Transportation  
VMRS Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards  
VMT Vehicle Miles of Travel  
WIM Weigh-in-motion (a vehicle’s weight is determined in a way that it does not have to stop)