Channel 19

Todd Dills

Thursday roundup: CB vitality, more highway heroes

| January 17, 2013

In case it was unclear, Michael Smothers of the Illinois newspaper the Pekin Daily Times wants you to know that his state’s codification of the federal rules prohibiting handheld “mobile communications device” use by commercial drivers behind the wheel does not apply to the good old citizen’s band radio.

CBs went the way of other “trends of the 1970s,” Smothers writes, fading “as the decades passed” like “orange shag carpeting and leisure suits.” With the handheld cell regs codified and the CB not included in their definition of “mobile communications device,” he says, “the CB microphone may be back in the trucker’s hand.”

Did it ever leave?

While Smothers implies some kind of popular resurgence of the radio with his headline — “Truckers may fuel CB comeback” — his story only suggests the CB’s exemption from the regs means more truckers will use it. I know it’s common to turn it off in certain areas, but to this day I don’t think I can say I’ve even met a self-respecting long-hauler that didn’t have one. Have you?

Thinking aloud, as it were, presumably handheld-cell-use regs are applied similarly to four-wheelers running down the road with CBs in jurisdictions where handheld use is banned for them, too. (I certainly hope so, and it bears saying that one four-wheeler does not a popular resurgence make.)

Though GPS-enabled phones make it at least possible to locate haulers in buddy networks in whatever area you happen to be running through when an emergency rises up, there is still no great substitute for what the CB does well, illustrated by this must-read on a couple more highway heroes:

A story at the website of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine tells the dramatic story of Johnny Morris Farms (Hillsboro, Tenn.) driver Jim Lowe, who with a codriver and the assistance of other trucks on I-24 just north of the Georgia state line, created a rolling roadblock to rescue an abducted child earlier this month.

Read the full account here.

Without the broad use of the CB by on-highway haulers, would this kind of heroic act be possible? Maybe, but the coordinated effort of several drivers as well as law enforcement personnel that Lowe describes would most certainly have been a more dicey and decidedly less coordinated affair.

In any case, hats off the drivers for the effort, over…

  • Kim Decker

    never stopped using mine since getting my licensee in 1974

  • Rollin’

    Some things only a CB can do……!

  • Josef

    Because you are an old time trucker. This new guys don’t even know how to use one. When I started driving in 1988 truckers were respectfull and polite to each other. Look at it now. they won’t even say thank you when you let them pass or merge.

  • Don Lanier

    The CB is still a viable means for Drivers, Truckers to learn of Accidents, Traffic issues, Weather emergencies or for reporting emergencys. Ive owned CB radios for over 40 years, all the way back to the Golden Eagles and Johnson Black face TUBE radios thru the Cobra, Galaxy, and countless other brands. Drivers use them to chat on long lonely stretches were you might not see another car a trucker will give a shout out into the night and say Hello. Yes there are too many guys who disrespect themselves with foul language and acting like children, but the majority use it as a tool, contacting the dock, saying hello or finding truck stops, and saving someones life.

    Ive used mine to get LOCAL directions more times then I can count, its chatter keeping the miles from getting to boring, and keeping the Local Yokels or Full Grown Bears at bay.

    The Citizen Band radio has seen fame with the CONVOY, and TEDDY BEAR, its been made famous by the movies and Burt and Jerry, “Come in Snowman” in Smoky and the Bandit, Vanishing Point and many others, but millions of everyday people used these in the 70s thru today to just stay in touch. Today the New and Improved radios are still flourishing and being used by Truckers who keep the airwaves full with chat of home or dock number 7 directions.

  • Keith Birmingham

    Instead of a c.b. resurgence you should look for a child to soon be born with a cell phone in it’s left hand, and stuck to it’s ear. In my days on the road I never went without a c.b. Some shippers and receivers were easier to work with if you had one. But, like everyone else that had a brain, I left it off when I did not need it. But, if c.b. radio comes back someone will make an app for the cell phone, and you will use it that way. In another few years maybe someone will invent a new toy for the American public to push to excess. It is who we are.

  • Trucker Lee

    Still keep the CB on most of the time, but turned down so I don’t have to listen to children arguing about nothing and cussing to make them feel bigger than their dogs.

  • Turnbuckle

    The cb radio SHOULD make a comeback. Unfortunatly with so few drivers with any experience and knowledge theres not much to be learned from it anymore. These days, virtually no one will even bother to announce the freeway coming to a stop. One more unintended consequence of government dollars being used to “train” drivers

  • packrat

    Use mine in conjuction with my cell phone. The Cobra 29 Bluetooth is the only way to go for me… Clear and loud enough I have to turn the volume down. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.