To CB or not to CB: Why Some Truckers Don’t Use Their CB Much

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Pretty girl talking on cbBreaker one-nine. Remember when every trucker had a CB and used it? Not so, any more. Gone, are the days when every trucker had his “ears” on. These days, there’s about a 50-50 chance they do. Why is that? And, why does it upset so many who do listen faithfully, when they find someone who doesn’t? Is a CB really all that important to have on, all the time? And if so, how powerful of a CB do you really need? Drivers have debated this issue time and time again (on the CB of course), but to no avail. I guess it depends on who you are and how you feel about it. It’s really just a matter of opinion. So, keeping with the tradition, here’s mine.

At least once a week, I will hear a driver try to call another driver on the CB, who doesn’t answer. Then, the driver doing the calling will cuss him out for not listening. Of course, the one not listening doesn’t hear the cuss out, which is funny enough by itself, but why do they have to get so upset about it? Maybe they are old-school truckers, who came from a time when listening to the CB was something everybody was supposed to do. They count on it when they need directions and they feel it is their civic duty to be available for others, when they know an area.

I used to know one driver who never had a CB.

He drove for New World Van Lines for over thirty years until he retired, and he never even once owned a CB. Of course, he was a household mover and made all of his deliveries in residential areas, so he always got his directions directly from his customers. Most truckers on the CB know where all of the industrial areas are, but he felt that it was a waste of time to even ask a trucker where some cul-de-sac was. Of course those “bedbugs” are a different breed, living in a different world than most freight haulers.

There are a lot of reasons why some drivers simply never turn it on. Maybe they already know where they are going and don’t think they need it. With satellite communications in most trucks now, most drivers are getting directions as part of their dispatch. Or, maybe they are too busy listening to the radio. With the growing popularity of talk radio and satellite radio, this is a huge reason why many drivers simply don’t listen to the CB anymore. Maybe they are on a cell phone. Of course most drivers have one nowadays and many wear those headsets and talk to their wives all day long.

I know a lot of you reading this are thinking- what about the danger of not listening? Yes it’s true, listening to the CB is important and can actually save your life, or the lives of others. If you suddenly have a problem that you don’t notice right away, like maybe a tire catches on fire, or maybe a piece of your truck is falling off, you would be wise to heed the warning from other drivers. Listening to a CB can warn you of road hazards too. If there is something lying in the road, or a broken down car in a travel lane, you’d be glad to know this ahead of time, rather than locking up your brakes when you finally realize it on your own.

Listening to the CB all day can be very boring at times.

It’s like watching a rerun of an old TV show, over and over, all day, every day, the same show. You’ll hear the same conversations, the same questions, with the same answers and even the voices may sound like the same people. You’ll hear where all of the Smokey Bears are, again and again. Someone will complain about his job. Someone else will offer him to come and work where he does, and talk about how great it is there. Someone will be lost. Someone else will steer them straight. There will be an argument and threats to pull over, which they never do. Someone will sing a bad song with a bad voice. Someone else will tell him not to quit his day-job. Someone will say “well, I never”, and someone else will say “oh yes you have.” Someone will preach the Gospel. Someone else will tell Preacher-man to shut up. There will be a troublemaker, who thinks repeating a swear word is funny. Sometimes it really will be funny. There will be others who tell him to shut up, but he won’t.

Listening to a CB can also be very entertaining and exciting sometimes too. Every once in a while, you’ll hear a story that piques your interest, or some fascinating facts about something you’ve always wondered about. You’ll learn new things and meet some real characters. Once in a while, someone will sing a song and actually blow you away with their talent. A comedian will crack you up with something funny, when you least expect it. You’ll smile at times, and even laugh out loud once in a while. You’ll wile away the hours in a good conversation, or just listening to one.

Most drivers understand the importance of a CB, but many of them turn it off when it gets too boring, in favor of some real entertainment on the radio. But, I suggest both. You can adjust your squelch in such a way that you will only hear those who are very near you. This way, you can be warned of any real dangers when necessary, and you can still listen to the radio for entertainment. Which also answers the question about how powerful of a CB you need- just a cheap one that can reach out to the vehicles that you can see. It works for me. Over and out.


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