Truckers Terminology

Truckers Terminology: Many groups around the world have a special language – a way to communicate that only their members understand. The trucking industry is no different. Although it may sound funny to the average person, driving an ‘18 wheeler’ or a ‘rig’ are everyday activities in the world of truck driving. This “trucker talk” is used throughout the trucking industry, whether it’s between carriers and their drivers, between truck drivers over the CB, or at the truck stop. Just like any other industry, the trucking industry has borrowed terms from other places, like calling the legs that support the front of a semi-trailer the “landing gear,” which is a common term in the airplane industry.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Back-Haul
A back-haul is moving freight from the destination point back to point of origin. If a trucker takes a load from point A to point B, the back haul is a load going from point B back to point A.

Bill of Lading
Itemized list of goods contained in a shipment. It is the shipping document that transfers the title, or ownership, of the freight from one party to another.

Tractor operating without a trailer. Also a deadhead. This also refers to a straight truck or “a two axle truck with the van permanently attached to the chassis,” according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Cargo Weight
If a shipping container is marked with a gross weight, that is the total weight of the load, including all packing and the container. The weight of the loads, gear and supplies on a vehicle.

Chassis and Chassis Weight
The chassis of a truck is a long, thin steel frame on wheels, according to the IRS. This attaches to the truck in order to haul containers. The chassis weight is the weight of the truck without a load on it or occupants in it. The chassis weight is also known as the tare weight.

A yardgoat is a tractor, according to the IRS, with a short turning radius. It is used to pull trailers or containers for hauling in the freight yard. It doesn’t pull them on roads.

Cargo Handler
A cargo handler is a person who loads freight into trailers. Other terms for a cargo handler are: a lumper, swamper, stevedore or longshoreman. Lumpers usually load agricultural freight like fruits and vegetables whereas a longshoreman or stevedore loads ocean freight. A swamper is truck driver’s assistant who helps load and unload whatever freight the trucker is carrying.

Common Carrier
A common carrier is a freight transportation company or sole driver acting as his own company who serves the general public for transport jobs. He may offer a regular route or take unscheduled trips on irregular routes, depending on where he is authorized to serve.

A deadhead is a truck driving without a trailer. To make a trip without any passengers or freight.

Electric On-Board Recorder. A device that records information about a truck’s trip.

An open trailer used for carrying construction materials and equipment and other objects of unusual size and shape.

This is a nickname, or trucking term, for a refrigerated truck.

A wireless communication system that carriers use to keep in touch with drivers. It’s like a combination of GPS, email and text messaging. The system helps the company keep track of its trucks and it helps drivers know the status of their next load and the weather.[/box]