Trucking Acronyms to Know

Every industry has some specialized vocabulary that you will need to learn. In trucking, this includes a lot of abbreviations. These can make communication more efficient, but it can be confusing if you are new. This article includes some of the most common trucking acronyms that you will hear during training and when you hit the road.

Acronyms Related to Training

CDL  – Commercial driver’s license – This is a requirement to be able to drive a semi-truck, and is earned by passing a written exam and skills test

CLP – Commercial learner’s permit – You earn your CLP after passing the written license test, and it allows you to get on-the-road experience under the supervision of a CDL holder.

Acronyms Related to Trucking Regulation

CSA – Compliance, Safety, and Accountability – CSA scores are associated with motor carriers and are a way to measure whether or not companies are following safety regulations.

DOT – Department of Transportation – This is the United States agency that regulates transportation, including trucking.

ELD – Electronic logging device – ELDs are used to record driving time and to stay compliant with industry regulations.

FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – The FMCSA is a sub-agency of the DOT and regulates trucking safety.

HOS – Hours of service – The DOT and FMCSA set limits on the number of hours that truckers can drive or be on-duty, with the goal of reducing accidents and improving safety. The acronym HOS refers to these regulations.

MVR – Motor vehicle record – This is a record of your driving history. Companies you work for as a CDL driver need to check this and keep it on file.

Acronyms Related to Driving Careers

CPM – Cents per mile – Truckers are typically paid based on the number of miles they travel, and CPM is the standard way of expressing how much a carrier pays.

DAC – Drive-a-Check – The DAC Report is one third-party background check option that trucking companies may use for hiring purposes. You will also have the option to get a free copy of your DAC Report once a year.

LTL – Less-than-truckload – This is a type of trucking where you haul smaller portions of freight for multiple customers. You can either have a linehaul LTL job where you travel from terminal to terminal, or a pick-up and delivery job where you drop off or pick up freight.

OTR – Over-the-road – OTR trucking involves spending multiple weeks at a time on the road and hauling freight long distances across the country. This is the most common starting point for CDL graduates and is what most people think of when they think of trucking.

P&D – Pick-up and delivery – This is an abbreviation for LTL trucking jobs where you travel from customer to customer.


APU – Auxiliary power unit – Semi-trucks are often equipped with APUs, which allow certain equipment and accessories (like air conditioning) to continue running without idling the main engine.

CMV – Commercial motor vehicle – CMVs are defined by the FMCSA and include semi-trucks as well as delivery trucks and some heavy equipment.

LCV – Long combination vehicle – A combination vehicle is a tractor that has a trailer attached, and an LCV is one with two or three trailers. You need to earn the doubles/triples endorsement to drive an LCV.

Learn More About the Trucking Industry

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we give our students valuable skills and knowledge to help them prepare for their trucking career. We can help you earn your CDL and hit the road in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our truck driving school, contact us today.

The Basics of Owner-Operator Trucking

There are many different careers available once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). One that may become an option once you gain more experience in the industry is becoming an owner-operator. These individuals either purchase or lease a semi-truck and run their own trucking business. Owner-operator trucking requires an investment and a strong understanding of how to deliver freight efficiently. If this is a path you are interested in, it can be helpful to know what being an owner-operator is like and how to reach this goal.

Types of Owner-Operator Trucking

There are two main ways that you can deliver freight as an owner-operator. Which is best for you depends on your preferences, your financial situation, and a variety of other factors.

Fully Independent

Some owner-operators are fully independent and operate under their own authority. This means that they can deliver freight for any company that requires their services. Many successful owner-operators develop a strong reputation with shippers over time and are able to get consistent work this way. However, it does require time and effort to get loads as a fully independent truck owner. Additionally, you will be responsible for all tasks related to running your trucking business such as Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance, insurance, bookkeeping, et cetera.

Contracting with a Trucking Company

Another option as an owner-operator is to contract with a specific trucking company. Many motor carriers offer programs that give you a path to truck ownership. If you already own your semi-truck, you can still sign on as a contracted driver. This is different from being a company trucker and you will still be responsible for your own expenses, but you will haul exclusively for a specific motor carrier, which makes it easier to find loads.

Pros and Cons

If you are considering becoming an owner-operator, it’s important to understand the potential benefits and downsides.

Pros include:

  • Owner-operators are among the highest-paid individuals in the trucking industry. This is the main benefit of this path and if you put in the work, your earning potential can be significant.
  • Trucking is a career associated with freedom, and this is even more true for owner-operators. You will be able to make decisions about which loads to take and how to run your business.
  • Your truck belongs to you, so you can customize it as you would like and don’t need to worry about sharing it with anyone else.

Cons include:

  • There are many start-up costs associated with becoming an owner-operator, as well as additional expenses as you continue to run your business.
  • You will need to wear many different hats and complete a variety of tasks beyond trucking alone in order to be successful.
  • Freedom comes with responsibility, and it can be stressful to be fully responsible for your trucking business.

How to Become an Owner-Operator

If you have decided that you would like to be an owner-operator truck driver, how can you get started? The first step is getting your CDL, which allows you to operate a semi-truck. In most cases, it is beneficial to be a company driver first to get some experience and learn more about the trucking industry. This also gives you time to save up the money to buy or lease your truck or, if you want to contract with a motor carrier, you can find a job with one that offers a path to truck ownership.

Get Started at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks. We also offer job placement assistance and can help you find companies that offer paths to becoming an owner-operator.

To learn more about our truck driver training programs, contact us today.