Mailbag: ‘Common sense, you’ve got it for a reason’ — Use your CB, already, readers say

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Updated Feb 22, 2021

Commentary flooded in following driver and Channel 19 semi-regular Scott LeVan‘s account of a deadly night on I-80 in Pa. a couple weeks back now. The issue much of the commentary was addressed toward: whether declining CB radio usage could have in part been to blame in, at least, the severity of the crash. LeVan was confident his warning might better have helped, and callers to Overdrive‘s podcast line stressed the need for better use of what most viewed as a necessary safety tool, the CB, no matter how much you might dislike the foul language around major cities or certain truck stops (a common complaint). Catch a variety of views via the podcast at bottom here or at the top of the Overdrive Radio mailbag series above.

This time of year, with more than occasionally dicey weather, particularly, things up ahead can change fast.

“My radio is on if I’m in the truck, period,” noted Jason Puniak in commentary under the original post. “No excuse to not have it on. And mine will also get out and receive. Its a big Stryker. I’d hate to be that guy who comes around a blind curve at 65 or 70 mph on a highway only to hit stopped traffic.”

Clifford Petersen seconded that notion with his winter-driving infographic, developed in part in hopes that “more drivers will use their CB radios this winter to help other drivers.” Click on the graphic for a slightly larger version.

Click through the infographic, put together by owner-operator Clifford “Dream Walker” Peterson.Click through the infographic, put together by owner-operator Clifford “Dream Walker” Peterson.

Kenneth Williams noted he believed “the biggest difference from the old days and now with a CB is in the 1970s there were fewer trucks on the road,” he wrote. “And no way to just call for help if you needed help. Even pay phones were only in towns. As a trucker you were on your own, except for other truck drivers. So you made a lot of friends on the road. And yes there were a lot of rude jerks back then. Most were base-station types with a big radio.”

Those types are still out there — I’ve heard one in recent years repeatedly somewhere around Nashville picking fights with drivers. At once, Williams added, “now most have found the Internet. But as for the CB, it still has a place in trucking today. Although the negative comments happen a lot more, I think it is a social problem today — rudeness is more acceptable. Back in the day, if you were rude on the radio to some men they would most likely drag you out of your truck and give you an attitude adjustment.”

Too many today seem to think that the CB is little more than a “movie prop from a silly movie from the 1970s,” Williams said. For the sake of safety, for camaraderie among drivers, among other things, he added, “truckers need to take back your lives and get rid of the negative talk on the CB. And when you stop at the truck stop, go meet your fellow drivers an make friends. I will see you out there.”

Williams’ thoughts were one example among many under the original story about LeVan’s incident, many great points among them you can peruse at this link. LeVan, in his original note to me with his message for drivers, hoped “it gets shared in the classrooms,” he said, that are today turning out the next generation of CDL drivers.

Hear more viewpoint below.