Authority – Federal – Common Carrier

A common carrier provides for-hire truck transportation to the general public and in the past was required to specify their charges or rates in a published tariff.

Authority – Federal – Freight Broker

A Freight Broker arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. Brokers do not transport freight on their own equipment.

Authority – Federal – Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, also known as a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC), is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution.

Authority – State – Intrastate Authority

Intrastate commerce means any trade, traffic, or transportation in any State, which is not described in the term “interstate commerce.” The US Federal Government governs interstate operations, while intrastate operations are governed by the state in which you operate.  Freight is picked up and delivered within the state and does not cross any state lines.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a legal document between the shipper of goods and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the goods are delivered at the predetermined destination.


A BOC-3 is a federal filing that designates legal agents upon which process may be served. It pertains mostly to individuals or companies in the transportation and logistics industry, and it is often required before certain federal operating authorities can be granted within the United States. BOC stands for “blanket of coverage” and it typically […]

Commercial Motor Vehicle Definition when applicable to Section 390.5

Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle— Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or […]

Common Commercial Vehicle Definition

Commercial motor vehicle means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the vehicle— Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight […]


Compliance is either a state of being in accordance with established guidelines or specifications, or the process of becoming so. Software, for example, may be developed in compliance with specifications created by a standards body, and then deployed by user organizations in compliance with a vendor’s licensing agreement. The definition of compliance can also encompass […]

DataQs Data Q’s

DataQs allows you to request and track a review of Federal and State data issued by FMCSA that you feel may be incomplete or incorrect. The system automatically forwards your Request for Data Review (RDR) to the appropriate office for resolution and collects updates and responses for current Requests.

Delivery Receipt

A document that is typically signed by the receiver of a shipment to indicate that they have in fact received the item being shipped and have taken possession of it. Most businesses that transport valuable items will require the completion of a signed delivery receipt to ensure the goods were actually received by the intended […]

Driver Qualification File

Driver Qualification Files contain specific records and documentation that demonstrates the employee is safe enough, healthy enough and qualified to operate a CMV. This includes owner-operators as they are considered employers AND employees.  The documents required in a DQ file are: DOT Employment Application Medical Certification Commercial Driver’s License or Road Test Certification Safety Performance […]


An Electronic Logging Device — or ELD — electronically records a Commercial Driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS or Drivers Daily Log).  This device replaces paper logbooks used to record compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.


One employed by another usually for wages or salary and in a position below the executive level.

Empty Weight

The weight of the vehicle or equipment by itself – without fuel, persons, or additional equipment or aftermarket accessories.  It is best determined by use of scale.

Federal Register

The Federal Register is a daily publication of proposed and final rules (administrative laws) adopted by federal executive departments and agencies. These rules are put forth to guide these departments and agencies on how to follow the statutes (laws) passed by the United States Congress.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer including the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo but excluding that of any trailers.

Hazardous Material

Hazardous material means a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5103). The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, […]


The International Fuel Tax Agreement (or IFTA) is an agreement between the United States and Canadian provinces intended to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction or between jurisdictions.  Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canadian Territories do not participate.  A carrier registered and licensed for IFTA with […]

Independent Contractor

An independent contractor is an individual or business that provides goods or services  to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement.  Unlike an employee, an independent contractor does not work regularly for an employer but works as and when required, during which time he or she may be subject […]

Insurance Coverage – Any Auto Policy

Any Auto coverage typically extends Liability insurance to hired and other non-owned vehicles, and vehicles you purchase during the term of your policy.

Insurance Coverage – Auto Liability Insurance

Financial protection for a driver who, while operating a vehicle, harms someone else or their property. Automobile liability insurance only covers injuries or damages to third parties and their property, not to the driver or the driver’s property.

Insurance Coverage – Cargo Insurance

Provides liability insurance for freight carriers who transport the cargo of others and is used in the event that the cargo is destroyed, damaged, stolen, or otherwise declared a loss while in the process of being shipped.

Insurance Coverage – Commercial Liability Insurance

Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy.  A standard insurance policy issued to business organizations to protect them against liability claims for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) arising out of premises, operations, products, and completed operations; and advertising and personal injury (PI) liability.

Insurance Coverage – Differences between Excess Liability and Umbrella Policies

Umbrella liability is a type of liability which provides additional limits over the underlying liability.  The biggest advantage of an Umbrella policy is that it may provide additional coverages not otherwise included in the underlying liability policy. They also help broaden the business insurance liability so that the gaps in coverage are closed and eliminated.  […]

Insurance Coverage – Differences between Scheduled Auto and Any Auto Policies

“Scheduled auto,” or any kind of “scheduled” insurance basically means that you give the insurer a list of things you want covered. If it’s not on the list, you’re out of luck in the event that a non-listed peril strikes or that a non-listed vehicle is struck. In the case of scheduled auto, you would […]

Insurance Coverage – Directors and Officers Insurance

Directors and officers liability Insurance (often called “D&O”) is liability insurance payable to the directors and officers of a company, or to the organization(s) itself, as indemnification (reimbursement) for losses or advancement of defense costs in the event an insured suffers such a loss as a result of a legal action brought for alleged wrongful […]

Insurance Coverage – Errors and Omissions Insurance

Professional liability insurance (PLI), also called professional indemnity insurance (PII) but more commonly known as errors & omissions (E&O) in the US, is a form of liability insurance that helps protect professional advice- and service-providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages […]

Insurance Coverage – Excess Liability Insurance

A policy issued to provide limits in excess of an underlying liability policy. The underlying liability policy can be, and often is, an umbrella liability policy. An excess liability policy is no broader than the underlying liability policy; its sole purpose is to provide additional limits of insurance. For example, you could have an Excess […]

Insurance Coverage – Inland Marine Insurance

inland marine coverage. Property insurance for property in transit over land, certain types of moveable property, instrumentalities of transportation (such as bridges, roads, and piers, instrumentalities of communication (such as television and radio towers), and legal liability exposures of bailees. (A Bailee is a person or party to whom goods are delivered for a purpose, […]

Insurance Coverage – Non-trucking Liability Insurance

When you use your truck for non-business purposes, you need insurance coverage. Non-Trucking Liability offers liability coverage for property damage or bodily injury to a third party when trucks are being used for non-business purposes.

Insurance Coverage – Occupational Accident Insurance

Occupational accident insurance is an alternative way to fund the employer’s obligation to the employee. Some other states allow employers to assume part of the workers compensation risk themselves, subject to state approval.

Insurance Coverage – Physical Damage Insurance

Physical Damage is a general term for a group of insurance coverages that protect your vehicle. This general term includes Collision insurance, as well as your choice of full Comprehensive insurance or the more limited Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage (CAC) insurance.  Within the trucking industry, premiums for Physical Damage Insurance are based […]

Insurance Coverage – Scheduled Auto Policy

The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance.  Although the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include cars, trucks, trailers, vans or other vehicles designed for use on public roads like those used by transportation companies. Each vehicle you use in your […]

Insurance Coverage – Umbrella Insurance Policy

Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance. It is designed to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits and as a result it helps protect your assets and your future. It provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your insurance policy.

Insurance Coverage – Workers Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue their employer for the tort of negligence.  Some states are monopolistic meaning Workers Compensation is available only through the state fund.

Insurance Forms and Other – Additional Insured

In most insurance policies, an additional insured is a person or organization that enjoys the benefits of being insured under an insurance policy, in addition to whoever originally purchased the insurance policy.

Insurance Forms and Other – BMC 91, BMC-91X

A BMC-91 filing is a document submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The BMC-91 filing guarantees the FMCSA that you have enough Liability insurance to cover the increased risk of transporting goods or people across state lines. A BMC-91X filing is required when your insurance is provided by multiple companies instead of […]

Insurance Forms and Other – Certificate Holder

The entity that is provided a certificate of insurance as evidence of the insurance maintained by another entity. In standard certificate forms, the certificate holder is usually listed in the space provided for that purpose.

Insurance Forms and Other – Certificate of Insurance

A certificate of insurance (COI) is typically a one page document that provides policy details on your insurance coverages, verifying that you have the business insurance you claim to have. It summarizes essential information like the types and limits of coverage, the issuing insurance company or companies, your policy numbers, insurance limits, the named insured, […]

Insurance Forms and Other – Insurance Form E

A Form E filing certifies that your Liability insurance complies with the state’s financial responsibility laws. Form E is submitted by your underwriting insurance company to the department of your business’ home state that regulates intrastate trucking.  Form E’s may be requested by other states when applying for Intrastate Authority in those other states.

Insurance Forms and Other – Insurance Form H

A Form H filing guarantees your state that you have sufficient Cargo Liability insurance and is submitted to the state department of your business’ home state. A Form H filing is not available in all states and situations.

Insurance Forms and Other – Loss History and Loss Runs

Loss runs are reports that provide a history of claims made on a commercial insurance policy. Typically, an insurance company will request up to five years of history, or for however long coverage has been provided. A claims history is just one of many insurability criteria considered by prospective underwriting insurance companies when your application […]


The International Registration Plan (IRP) is an agreement among states of the US, the District of Columbia and provinces of Canada providing for payment of commercial motor carrier registration fees.  To operate in multiple states or provinces, motor carriers must register in their base jurisdiction (state or province).  IRP licensing applies to vehicles having gross […]

Lease – Motor Vehicle Lease Agreement

An owner operator Motor Vehicle Lease Agreement is a contract between an individual or company that owns a vehicle or vehicles and intends to lease that vehicle or vehicles to another person or company (Motor Carrier) to rent for compensation.

Lease – Trip Lease

The lessor is the party granting the use of equipment, with or without a driver, to another. The truth-in-leasing regulations require that a lease between a motor carrier (lessee) and an owner-operator (lessor) be in writing. A copy of the lease must be carried in the vehicle during the term of the lease.

MC Number

When you apply to operate as a for-hire motor carrier of regulated commodities or passengers in interstate commerce an MC Number is issued to your company.  If you transport Exempt Commodities or you operate strictly within a commercial zone, then your operations are typically exempt from the interstate operating authority requirement.   DOT is trending toward […]


Your US DOT number is the unique identifier for your company. The form filed to obtain a US DOT number is the MCS-150, Motor Carrier Identification Report. As the name suggests, the MCS-150 asks for specific information about your motor carrier operation.  At minimum, this form should be updated at least once every two years.  […]

MVR – Motor Vehicle Record – Driving record

A Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record. Some states include other information, such as Name, Date of Birth, Height, and Weight. […]


Conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances. In order to establish negligence as a Cause of Action […]

Power of Attorney

The authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.  A legal document giving power of attorney to someone.

Process Agent

A process agent is a representative upon whom court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder. When all Unified Registration System (URS) provisions are implemented, every motor carrier (of property or passengers) shall make a designation for each State in which it is authorized to operate and for […]


The Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) allows carriers, individual drivers, and industry service providers access to commercial drivers’ safety records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).  The safety performance record produced on an individual driver through this program is commonly referred to as a PSP report.  The PSP […]

Punitive Damages

Monetary damages or compensation awarded which exceed simple compensation intended to punish the defendant.  Punitive damages are usually awarded when defendant is found negligent.

Risk Management

The forecasting and evaluation of financial risks together with the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize their impact.

Surety Bond

A Surety bond is a legally binding contract that ensures obligations will be met between a principal (whoever needs the bond), an obligee (the one requiring the bond) and a surety (the insurance company guaranteeing the principal can fulfill the obligations). Surety bonds are part insurance and part credit.

UCR – Unified Carrier Registration

Created by the Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005 (UCR Act – 49 United States Code (USC) section 14504a), it replaces the former system for registering and collecting fees from the operators of vehicles engaged in interstate travel – the Single State Registration System (SSRS).

US DOT Number

You must obtain a US DOT number if: Vehicles are over 10,000 lbs If you transport between nine and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation If you transport 16 or more passengers Transport hazardous materials in interstate commerce.

Vetting Carriers

Vetting allows Brokerage and Freight Forwarder companies to provide and ensure their shipping customers the best, safest carriers to transport their freight.  This vetting process requires the greatest of diligence to provide the best possible outcome.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability refers to a situation where someone is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In a workplace context, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.

VIN or Vehicle Identification Number

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a SPECIFIC vehicle. The VIN serves as a vehicle’s fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is composed of17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle.  Please always list the full VIN (all […]

What are the differences between an MVR and a PSP Report?

MVR and PSP records are maintained by different sources. MVR driving records are reported by each State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”, or similar State agency), and there is no national database housing driver records. The FMCSA is responsible for the PSP report. An important point to remember is that the two records are not […]