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.

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