fleet management glossary

Telematics and Fleet Management Glossary

If your organization has vehicles that it relies on to generate revenue, you may run across many of the terms you see in our Telematics and Fleet Management Glossary.

For some of you, this is a refresher course. If you’re stepping up your efforts to manage your vehicles, though, this might be your first encounter with some of these terms. This glossary will explain and contextualize common terms you’ll hear in fleet management and telematics.

Feel free to contact us if there are any terms that we should add to the Telematics and Fleet Management Glossary!

AOBRD – Automatic On-Board Recording Device

This is an electronic or mechanical way of recording a driver’s duty status information accurately and automatically. The device synchronizes with specific operations of the vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device records engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.

You won’t hear this term often because AOBRDs are on the way out. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandated the shift to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). Technically, ELDs are a type of AOBRD – but they have more capabilities than the previous generation of AOBRDs. Learn more about the differences between AOBRDs and ELDs.


Trucking and transportation are governed by a complex system of regulations, many of them implemented at the federal level. These include the Hours of Service regulations as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Maintaining compliance can prevent organizations from incurring costly penalties, such as fines and having drivers placed out of service. And with fleet software, organizations can navigate these potential issues to remain in compliance.

fleet management glossary

CSA – Compliance, Safety, Accountability

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s compliance and enforcement initiativeimproves large truck and bus safety to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. You can find more information at csa.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Also, this can refer to CSA scores, which are vital to transportation companies. Good CSA scores can result in lower insurance rates, fewer inspections, and a better brand for attracting customers.

DOT – Department of Transportation

This federal agency works to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets vital national interests.

DVIR – Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports

Documentation of a driver’s vehicle inspection taken at the beginning and end of each shift for each vehicle operated. Smartphone apps are a popular and effective way to capture this information.

The report typically covers the following vehicle parts and accessories:

  • Service brakes including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

Learn more about DVIR and other types of driver logs.

fleet management glossary

ELD – Electronic Logging Device

ELDs are the latest form of automated driver logs. They are more accurate than the AOBRDs long-haul drivers have used since the 1980s. Also, they reduce the chances of error by requiring less input from the driver. They sync to the truck’s engine with GPS data. Drivers can sign off on the accuracy, giving them authority over the data.

ELDs are available as smartphone apps and as dashboard-mounted tablets. Each has its own best use case, depending on the situation.

Fleet Management

The practice of managing vehicles to generate more revenue by improving accountability, compliance, efficiency, and safety. Organizations that rely on vehicles to generate revenue often do this with software that generates data such as vehicle location, odometer readings, Diagnostic Trouble Codes, vehicle inputs, and more.

And fleet management isn’t just for large organizations – many companies that might not even think of their vehicles as a “fleet” benefit from using fleet management software.

FSMA – Food Safety Modernization Act

The US government enacted the FSMA in 2011 to ensure that the US food supply is safe. The law shifts focus from responding to contamination to preventing it from occurring in the first place. Also, it was the first major change to food safety laws since the 1940s. Learn more about FSMA compliance.

fleet management glossary

FSM – Field Services Management

The management of a company’s resources en route to or at the location of a client’s property. This can include locating vehicles, scheduling and dispatching, managing worker activity, and integrating with inventory, accounting, and other back-office tasks.

Want to know more about how field service management can help manage your mobile workforce? Check out the ServiceBridge blog!

HAZMAT – Hazardous Materials Carrier

A commercial transport carrying a substance or material capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property.

HOS – Hours of Service

The US federal government introduced the Hours of Service rules in the 1930s to keep truckers from driving while fatigued. Today, these regulations also apply to commercial and city bus drivers as well as school bus drivers who drive commercial vehicles.

Failure to comply with these regulations can be costly. Penalties include fines and placing drivers out of service. And there are penalties for organizations that encourage drivers to exceed the federally mandated HOS rules. Learn more about HOS and compliance solutions.

fleet management glossary

IFTA – International Fuel Tax Agreement

IFTA simplifies how truckers and trucking companies pay their fuel taxes. In the past, paying fuel taxes was a time-consuming affair that required truckers to stop at a port of entry to buy a permit.

IFTA revenue helps maintain roadways. Visit our “What is IFTA?” page to learn more about how this tax agreement works.

LTL – Less Than Truckload (or Less Than Load)

Transportation service of relatively small freight. Typically weighing between 151 and 20,000 lb. LTL offers a lower cost to shippers but increased transit time.

MCC – Motor Coach Carrier

A company that operates motor coaches.

RODS – Record of Duty Status

The collection of data for a predefined set of statuses that describe the current state of a driver. Location data is appended to each record when the status changes.

The following are the driver statuses collected:

  • “Off duty” or “OFF.”
  • “Sleeper berth” or “SB” (only if a sleeper berth used).
  • “Driving” or “D.”
  • “On-duty not driving” or “ON.”


Telematics is the long-distance transmission of computerized information. It has evolved over the years and narrowly associates with GPS tracking or fleet management.

The system is based on devices installed inside vehicles. The devices use cellular networks to transmit data back to servers either hosted by the provider or by a third-party cloud server. Then, the data stored in the cloud makes the information accessible from any device with an Internet connection.

Learn more about how telematics is used to manage commercial vehicles.