Drivers continue to rely on CB radios for safety

Updated Jul 25, 2016

While truck cabs are getting more crowded with electronics and other devices, it appears as though many truckers will make room for a CB radio.

Here’s an example of why.

Tom Kyrk hadn’t been driving for long before learning the value of his CB radio. He was hauling an empty trailer up I-390 in New York state on his way to Canada. It was the dead of winter and the wind was gusting.

Truck drivers often use CB radios to get safety information while on the road.

“All of a sudden, the CB roared to life,” he said. “Drivers were shouting, ‘Hit the ramp, take the ramp, brake it down!’ I rounded the corner to see traffic rapidly slowing and taking the exit ramp. A lightly loaded truck had been picked up by the wind and was perfectly perpendicular to the road. He was on all his wheels, but was blocking all the traffic lanes; both shoulders and his steer tires were in the grass median and his ICC bumper was against the concrete wall of the bridge.

“This was a case of drivers spreading the word, good following distance, and prompt reactions saving some lives and a deadly accident,” said Kyrk.

A recent survey by RoadPro found 130 of 150 drivers believe their CB keeps them safe.

“If you are any kind of driver, that CB is your best friend when you need help,” commented one respondent. “It lets us know when the traffic backs up so we don’t end up being part of the accident,” another said.

It’s true that the CB is not as ubiquitous among truckers as it used to be. Driving apps and GPS units provide directions. Cell phones keep drivers in touch with family and friends and in-cab electronics connect drivers and dispatchers. And Channel 19 can be an ear-bending barrage of preaching, arguing and gibberish.

Still, many drivers still rely on their CB radio because no other tool offers the direct trucker-to-trucker communication the CB does and, there still are places without cell coverage.

“I love my CB,” said Maggie Riessen, a driver who hauls livestock. “I use it to find out traffic and bear (police) reports and to check in or out at the plants. Traffic and bear reports are important because if the policeman is around traffic will slow or stop. It’s always good to be prepared for anything when you haul livestock.”