The image of a trucker with a CB radio in one hand and a steering wheel in the other is almost as iconic as an image of a child with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland—it’s expected. If the castle was removed or Mickey and Minnie stopped making appearances at Disneyland, it just wouldn’t be the same. This begs the question, with all the new technology that has become available in the past few years in transportation and communication, are truckers still using CB radios? Well . . . yes and no.
Citizens Band, or CB, radio has been around since the 1940s, but trucking companies are not actually required by law to have on in each of their trucks. Apparently, CBs have never been mandated, but carriers and drivers still use them occasionally because they are exempt from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s smart phone “two-button press” regulation. In the past they were used to communicate anything from where cops were hiding to marriage and job complaints. Today, recent surveys show that more than 32% of truckers still use CB radios all the time, while 17% of respondents said they never use them at all. Some truckers swear these old-time devices are worth having and might just save their lives one day. They think they are handy to have around in case of accidents or other road hazards. Other drivers say they can’t handle the annoying chatter and negative communication that tends to fill the air waves, and so they choose to turn theirs off or go without them completely.
Perhaps the best part of CB radios is the unique language truckers developed to communicate with each other over the years. Some of the favorites include:
Alligator: blown tire
Back off the hammer: slow down
Bear: police officer
Blew my doors off: passed with great speed
CB Rambo: all talk, no show
10-4: Copy that.
At Soren, we are grateful for our carriers and dispatchers, and we value the fact that we can communicate with them. This communication is vital to the success of our customers. Whether our drivers are using an older system or the newest technology, we appreciate their willingness to stay connected with us so that loads get delivered on time, and we can keep our commitment to distribute our customers’ goods throughout the country. And if our carriers ever tell us that CB radios are their preferred form of communication to help them stay in tune with road and weather conditions and keep them safe while driving, our response will be none other than, “10-4.” (https://www.freightwaves.com/news/what-happened-to-cb-radios)