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Fleet Management Glossary

Sort through the industry jargon with our glossary of fleet management terms and their definitions.



The electromechanical component of a telematic device, indicating the vehicle’s position and rate of change 

Active GPS tracker

A GPS tracking device that transmits data at regular intervals to a central server. Enables real-time vehicle tracking and tracing and geofencing

Alternative fuels

Any substances or materials that you can use as fuel other than the customary fuel types. Examples include bio-alcohol, chemically stored electricity, hydrogen, bio-diesel, and others.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

An area of computer science that gives machines or programs the capability to perform tasks that mimic human intelligence

Automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD)

An electronic or mechanical device that records a driver’s duty status information automatically. Federally recognized as an FMCSA-compliant solution until December 2019 for HOS use


Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)

The seven categories FMCSA uses to assess a motor carrier’s safety performance and compliance in connection with other carriers

Business mileage claim

An expense for any travel that an employee takes to perform their work. A formal request made to lower the amount of business traveling taxes paid at the end of the year


Commercial driver’s license (CDL)

A type of driver’s license required for operating large, heavy, or hazardous material vehicles. Entails a higher level of knowledge, skills, experience, and physical abilities than those of a non-commercial driver’s license.

Collision reconstruction

The use of telematics data to recreate vehicle crash events

Commercial fleet

A group of vehicles that a company uses for business purposes

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV)

A vehicle (with a typical gross weight rating of over 10,000 pounds) used for business, and transporting people, products, or hazardous materials

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

A safety compliance and enforcement program of the FMCSA that keeps motor carriers and drivers accountable for their roles in road safety

CSA score

A computation of violations weighted according to their BASIC category and how recently they happened. FMCSA calculates scores on a zero to 100 percentile scale, with 100 as the worst performance and zero as the best.


Dash cam

Short for dashboard camera. A video-recording device typically mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard to capture footage of driving operations and road situations

Data visualization

The practice of transforming technical fleet management data into easy-to-interpret and intuitive visual presentations

Daytime running lamps (DRL)

Lighting devices on the front of a motor vehicle that are automatically switched on when the vehicle is in gear

Defensive driving

A deliberate manner of operating vehicles to avoid accidents due to other people’s actions

Diagnostic trouble codes

Codes prescribed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to monitor problems detected by a vehicle’s on-board computer

Disposal policy

A protocol describing the process in which a company removes vehicles no longer required for fleet operations

Distracted driving

A situation where the driver performs any activity that diverts their focus away from the road and their safe vehicle operation

DoT inspection

A series of tests that U.S. DoT officers perform at highway stations for all CMVs weighing over 10,000 pounds. It may include assessments of documents, drivers, vehicles, and cargo.

Driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR)

An official document verifying that a driver has completed a full inspection of the CMV they operated. A vehicle-examining record that the U.S. DoT and FMCSA mandate drivers to complete both at the start and end of each day they operate the vehicle

Drowsy driving

A situation where the driver operates a motor vehicle while feeling sleepy. Also called fatigued driving and sleep-deprived driving

Duty of care

A set of legally required steps and duties that companies should take to safeguard their employees



A manner of operating a vehicle that controls and minimizes fuel wastage

Electronic logging device (ELD)

A digital device connected to a vehicle’s engine that automates the tracking of daily driver HOS as mandated by FMCSA. Usually captures data associated with driving time, vehicle movement, miles driven, and engine performance

ELD mandate

A federal regulation implemented by the FMCSA that requires all commercial fleet vehicles to use ELDs for HOS recording. It replaces paper-based and previously used logging devices with a few exemptions.

Excessive mileage charges

Fees given when a fleet reaches the mileage limits, typically indicated in the commercial vehicles’ contracts or lease agreements


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)

A set of U.S. federal regulations that specify the design, durability, construction, and performance requirements for motor vehicles

Field service management

The process of supervising assets remotely from the company’s property. In fleet management, this set of workflows involves telematics systems for activities such as vehicle tracking, dispatching, overseeing personnel’s tasks, billing, accounting, integrating with inventory, and other back-office work.

Fleet asset management

The practice of handling all assets associated with fleet operations

Fleet asset register

A list of company-owned assets, especially fleet vehicles, that includes details such as purchase date, registration number, and planned replacement date

Fleet asset utilization

An understanding of the fleet’s vehicles, their drivers, trips, destinations, arrival schedules, and how the vehicles will get to their target locations

Fleet dispatcher

The person in charge of scheduling and organizing dispatch workflows for commercial fleet vehicles

Fleet dispatching

The process by which the company sends out commercial drivers into the field to deliver cargo, service customers, and complete other business-connected tasks

Fleet insurance 

A business insurance policy that covers a fleet of commercial motor vehicles from risky situations

Fleet management

The process of overseeing all fleet operations and their overall condition. Refers to all activities performed to keep commercial vehicles running smoothly, cost-efficiently, and within schedule.

Fleet management software

Software that tracks and simplifies commercial vehicle dispatch, routing, maintenance, driver safety, fuel expenses, compliance, and other fleet management duties

Fleet management system

A combination of vehicle-based software as a service and other technologies to help companies improve their fleet performance, ensure driver safety, mitigate risks, save fuel, and boost overall fleet efficiency

Fleet manager

The person in charge of overseeing the commercial vehicles, drivers, and all other aspects related to the company’s fleet. Their responsibilities cover fuel management, hiring, making sure the fleet complies with government regulations, etc.

Fleet maintenance

Pertains to all workflows to keep commercial vehicles functional and safe

Fleet optimization

The method of optimizing fleet operations, usually with the help of telematics data

Fleet risk management

The process of identifying potential threats to the fleet’s safety, efficiency, and financial health

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

An agency under the U.S. DoT whose primary goal is to enhance commercial vehicles’ road safety performances and reduce accidents throughout the U.S. trucking industry. Its responsibilities are researching, creating, testing, and executing safety standards for CMVs and CDL drivers, including issuing U.S. DoT numbers and operating authority to trucking companies.

First mile delivery

The movement of commodities across the first leg of a company’s supply chain

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)

A set of rules regulating the safe operation of commercial fleet vehicles engaged in interstate commerce. Contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter III 

For-hire carrier

A company whose business involves transporting freight that belongs to other individuals or organizations

Fuel cards

Alternative payment methods for CMVs’ diesel, gasoline, and other fuel purchases. Companies can also use these for vehicle maintenance and expenses. Also known as fleet cards

Fuel consumption

A vehicle’s fuel usage in driving a specific distance. Measured in miles per gallon (MPG) or liters per 100 kilometers. Serves as a standard metric to define and compare a vehicle’s fuel usage and efficiency

Fuel economy

The measure of how far a vehicle will travel with a gallon of fuel

Fuel efficiency

The ability of a vehicle to extract energy from fuel. Also refers to the ways in which the vehicle and its engine work to give the highest miles per gallon of fuel possible

Fuel management system

The process of managing and enhancing fuel expenses and consumption

Fuel monitoring

The practice of tracking fleet vehicles’ fuel usage and statistics to lower fuel expenses and improve driving habits



The method of using geofences, which are virtual parameters of real-world areas that can be predefined or dynamically generated

Global positioning system (GPS)

A sophisticated navigation network of satellites, receivers, and monitoring stations to convey global location data

GPS tracker

A vehicle-tracking device using GPS technology

GPS fleet tracking

The method of tracking vehicles and capturing location and other information using GPS technology. Also called mobile fleet tracking and GPS vehicle tracking 

Green fleet

A term describing a fleet that focuses on sustainability and aims to minimize its environmental impact through various initiatives. It aims to lower its greenhouse gas emissions, waste sent to landfills, criteria emissions, and conventional fuel usage. 

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

A vehicle’s maximum operating weight indicated by the manufacturer. Also known as gross vehicle mass


Hard driving

Refers to rough vehicle handling or any abrupt driving habit changes. Examples include sudden braking, frequent harsh acceleration, and hard cornering. Also called aggressive driving

Hazardous materials

Substances that can endanger peoples’ or properties’ health and safety. These include radioactive materials, compressed gases, oxidizers, flammable liquids and solids, explosives, corrosives, and poisons. Also includes common household items such as paints, paint thinners, automotive repair and maintenance chemicals, propane cylinders, nail polish remover, gasoline, and lighter fluid

Hazardous Materials Carrier (HAZMAT)

A commercial vehicle transporting materials or substances that can bring excessive safety, health, or property risk

Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)

A set of federal laws administering the commercial haul of hazardous materials. Contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter I

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV)

Any vehicle with a total weight measuring more than 3,500 kilograms, including its cargo. Also called a heavy-duty or large goods vehicle

Hours of Service (HOS)

The maximum amount of time that the FMCSA permits commercial drivers to be on duty, including driving operations. The specified number of hours that CMV drivers can log before taking a break 

HOS rules

A set of rules administered by FMCSA to regulate the driving hours of any person operating CMVs for interstate commerce. It specifies the mandatory number and duration of drivers’ rest periods to ensure they stay awake and alert throughout their trips.


Idle time

The period when a vehicle moves extremely slowly or stands still with a running engine. Tracking technologies usually measure this metric after five minutes.


The act of running a vehicle’s engine when not in motion, e.g., waiting while parked with a running engine, standing still during a red light

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)

An agreement between the lower 48 U.S. states and the Canadian provinces to streamline fuel reporting in several jurisdictions

Intrastate move

The transportation of cargo from one place to another within the same state and without crossing state borders

Interstate move

A move in which a company transports goods from one state to another state (including outside the U.S.) or between two places in one state through a different state or place outside the U.S.

In-vehicle coaching

An activity in which an in-cab monitoring device provides drivers with visual or audiovisual alerts upon its detection of improper driving behaviors


Last mile carrier

Shipping companies transporting last mile deliveries 

Last mile delivery

The final step in a delivery process where a company moves the parcel or finished products from a transportation hub to the last destination, e.g., a retail store or a residence

Light-goods vehicle (LGV)

A commercial motor vehicle with a total gross weight of 3,500 kilograms or less 

Less-than-truckload (LTL)

An amount of freight less than the required truckload volume rate; normally less than 10,000 pounds

Logistics management

A part of the supply chain management that entails planning and executing efficient systems to move commodities from the place of origin (e.g., the warehouse) to that of consumption (a customer’s house).

Long haul

A move that runs over 450 miles


Motor carrier (MC) number

An FMCSA-assigned unique identifying number for commercial motor carriers transporting regulated commodities for hire in interstate commerce

Mileage log

An automated or manually maintained record of the number of miles a driver has traveled in a specific period (e.g., a day, week, or month)

Middle mile delivery

The delivery of commodities across the second phase in the supply chain. Also known as second mile delivery or local distribution

Motor carrier

A company that offers truck transportation services

Multi-drop route planning

A process that strategizes a driver’s route to complete more than two deliveries in several locations. It uses vehicle routing software to gather and analyze thousands of data points and select the best transporting route.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

A U.S. federal agency working to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, and economic losses caused by road accidents. It also creates and enforces safety standards and supervises the recall of dangerous vehicles.

Near-field communication

A series of communication protocols enabling communication between two nearby devices. In fleet management, the staff can perform this process with telematics devices to verify drivers’ identities and permit signing in to specific vehicles.


On-board diagnostics port (OBD-II or OBD2)

A standardized diagnostic port that lets you access data from a vehicle’s engine computer. A standard automotive electronic system for vehicle diagnostics and reporting. Extensively used in fleet management and telematics

Operating authority

The motor carrier’s right to operate CMVs to transport commodities or passengers for-hire. It dictates the type of operation a company can run and the freight it can haul. Also known as trucking authority or motor carrier authority, it is the permission given by FMCSA to move goods for commercial purposes. 

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM)

Companies producing trucks, automobiles, and other vehicles, including their associated parts and equipment

Out-of-service (OOS) violation

An FMCSR or HMR violation mandating a commercial vehicle or driver to be moved off the road or taken out of service until the circumstances causing the violation is corrected or resolved

Out-of-service order

A declaration released by the FMCSA or a law enforcement officer prohibiting a driver or motor carrier from operating a CMV


A truck driver who owns and operates their own truck


Passive GPS tracker

A GPS tracking device that stores data without transmitting it to a central server. Data download and review can take place once the vehicle returns to its home base.

Pay as you drive (PAYD)

Insurance expenses or discounts based on a vehicle’s mileage. Known also as UBI.

Pay how you drive (PHYD)

Insurance expenses or discounts based on the operator’s driving behaviors, e.g., speeding, accelerating, and braking. Also called UBI


The weight of the cargo being transported 

Points of interest (POI)

Dedicated geographic entities or specific point locations of useful places on the map, such as garages and fuel stations

Predictive maintenance

A type of condition-based maintenance that monitors vehicles’ conditions using sensory devices and artificial intelligence (AI). The sensors provide real-time data that the AI uses to study normal operating patterns, detect anomalies, and forecast the vehicles’ upkeep needs.

Preventive maintenance

A proactive strategy that involves routine upkeep activities to lower the chances of vehicle failure and unexpected downtime. Also known as preventative maintenance

Pre-trip inspection 

A thorough examination of the conditions of the commercial vehicle, trailer, and cargo before drivers begin traveling

Post-trip inspection

An act of checking the CMV for defects, faults, and damages at the end of the drivers’ shifts


Reactive maintenance

The strategy of repairing defective or damaged vehicle components to their normal working conditions. Implemented only when the vehicle malfunctions. Also known as corrective or breakdown maintenance


Receivers are counterparts of shippers at the other end of the supply chain. They are the party that receives the cargo or freight.

Record of duty status (RODS)

An FMCSA-mandated report that every driver should complete for each 24-hour period during which they operated a CMV

Revolutions per minute (RPM)

A common measurement of a mechanical component’s rotational speed, e.g., engine speed

Road usage charges (RUC)

Government taxes that drivers have to pay for their use of a road system. The payment amounts depend on the number of miles traveled. Also called distance-based user fees (DBUF), mileage-based user fees (MBUF), vehicles miles traveled tax (VMTT), or mileage taxes

Route optimization

The method of planning and enhancing a commercial fleet’s routes by taking into account the distance, driving time, and location



A company or person that delivers or transports cargo or goods via air, land, or sea

Short haul

A movement occurring under 450 miles 



A combination of two words and knowledge fields: telecommunications and informatics. It is a variety of technologies using connectivity (whether internet or short-range communication channels) with diagnostic, location, and other information. It aims to provide communications services, security, and convenience. Also refers to the remote transmission of computerized information


A vehicle’s movement from a starting position to an end destination


U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT or U.S. DoT)

A United States federal government agency responsible for planning and coordinating all national transportation projects. It also develops safety regulations concerning all primary modes of transportation.

U.S. DoT number

An FMCSA-issued unique identifying number for motor carriers operating in interstate commerce

Usage-based insurance (UBI)

An insurance type in which the insurance expenses depend on vehicle classification, distance covered, location, and driving behavior 


Vehicle classification

Type of vehicle, e.g., truck, bus, car, or van

Vehicle downtime

The period when vehicles are not available for use for any reason

Vehicle identification number (VIN)

A unique sequence comprising a serial number as defined in ISO 3779 (content and structure) and ISO 4030 (location and attachment)

Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) Codes

Industry standards established as a single coding convention for maintenance reporting, fleet management, and operating cost analysis. Provides a communication link between maintenance personnel, management, and computers. Serves as a universal language for fleets, industry suppliers, OEMs, and the people responsible for specifying, buying, operating, and maintaining equipment

Vehicle tracing

The ability to view a vehicle’s historical movements, events, or positions

Vehicle tracking

An activity that involves monitoring a vehicle’s real-time movement, event, or position

Vehicle utilization

A metric that measures vehicle performance against the resulting profitability


Workforce management

A set of processes that a company uses to improve individual employee productivity. In fleet management, this is a practice applied to improve driver communications on the road and in the office.