General Question

augustlan's avatar

Do truckers still use CB radios? Are there any laws curtailing their use while driving?

Asked by augustlan (47745points) May 30th, 2013

Just something I wondered about as I was driving down the highway today. In most places, it’s now illegal to use hand-held cell phones while driving. Since CBs are also hand-held (I think), is the same true of them?

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26 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Please frame your answers as either “10–4 Big Buddy” or “Negatory there”...

I work for the phone company, and though we rarely use them any more, some of us do have radios in the cabs, and we have never been told not to use them when driving.

bkcunningham's avatar

I have wondered about this too. Businesses still sell CB radios, so I’d have to assume that they are in use. I hate Wiki but I did find a page that said, “CB radio is still used by truck drivers, and remains an effective means of obtaining information about road construction, accidents and police radar traps.”

As to using them like a phone, take a look at this. This link also helps confirm they are still in use by truckers.

bkcunningham's avatar

Can I get a radio-check. Check. Check.

augustlan's avatar

10–4. It’s good that they have the hands-free technology available, but it does seem inconsistent that it’s not mandatory, as it is with cell phones. Over.

bkcunningham's avatar

Affirmative that, @augustlan.

Plucky's avatar

10–4 You’d think they’d be under the same distracted driver laws as the rest of us. Interesting question. Over.

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan, what’s your 20?

Now I wanna go watch Smokey and the Bandit and Canonball Run back to back.

jaytkay's avatar

Copy that, @Plucky, “You’d think they’d be under the same distracted driver laws”

Googling some local laws shows some laws specify cell phones, while others cover any “electronic communication device”.

So it seems like a mix. I would guess that cell phones are immensely more dangerous because 1) they’re immensely more common and 2) CBs are used mostly on limited access highways.


zenvelo's avatar

The CB radio is not the same communication style as a cell phone, though. There is a microphone, but the response is over a speaker, not an earpiece. They don’t lead to the same distraction as a hand held phone. No one ever raised a concern back in the 70s of drivers being distracted by using CBs.

RocketGuy's avatar

Back in the old days, most CB users were truck drivers, who had great driving skills. It would take more than a few squawks over CB to distract any of those guys.

The average automobile drivers nowadays are terrible drivers – worse while chatting about crap on their cellphones.

Bellatrix's avatar

That’s a big 10–4 @augustlan. Lots of truckies use them over here. I had a good buddy ask if I had my ears on when I was cruisin’ down the super slab one afternoon and there’d been a fender bender and many rubber neckers were holding up the traffic. I ignored him because I only liked to sandbag and read the mail.

I don’t have ears in my grocery grabber anymore.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ah… breaker breaker… come on.

Back in the day, I actually had a license for a CB. Very few people bothered with it but I did. CBs are still in use and are still the best way to find out the road status in that moving bubble of space around your vehicle. They are far less distracting than smart phones.which require close focusing for extended periods of time and the manual dexterity of 12 year old sweat shop employees sewing the lace onto chinese made VS underwear .

LuckyGuy's avatar

i just checked NY’s driver distraction laws. They apply to portable electronic devices – not to fixed devices like a CB or 2 way mobile radio.

CWOTUS's avatar

One of the major differences between CB radios and telephones is that telephones are “full duplex”, meaning that you can hear and speak at the same time over the device. CB radios are “half duplex”, meaning that you can ONLY hear or ONLY speak. So they don’t take so much attention.

That’s probably why no one ever bothered to make a study of the correlation between CB radio usage and accident occurrence, because it’s just not an issue.

On the other hand, as you may have already noticed, smarter and smarter phones seem to make for dumber and dumber people.

KNOWITALL's avatar

They do still use them, believe it or not.

We used to have CB parties around here (around the time Garth Brooks was a top star), we all got them in our cars and talked about where to party, etc…it was fun for a minute.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I actually still have my CB from back in the 80’s when I used to drive long haul all over the US.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Linda_Owl 10–4 on that there and all.
Get me a radio check there good buddy.
Hammer down in the hammer lane, we got a bear in the woods.

Linda_Owl's avatar

@KNOWITALL , you made me smile! :-)

JLeslie's avatar

The theory behind talking on the phone while driving being dangerous is the expectation during a conversation when the line is open on both sides. When we have a passenger in the car both people are watching traffic, and if the person driving pauses to better focus on traffic, the passenger naturally pauses also, because they also witness the traffic and see the driver checking mirrors, slowing down, changing lanes, etc. When a driver is talking to somone on the phone there is a psychological pressure to maintain the conversation as though one is sitting in their living room. The other person does not naturally pause depending on the events going on on the road.

With a CB, people wait to hear the reply. The obligation for the two way conversation is slightly different. However, it probably could be argued that there is some increased danger, compared to not talking to someone else while driving.

RocketGuy's avatar

I have no qualms about pausing while talking via cellphone (Bluetooth) while driving.

JLeslie's avatar

That’s good.

jca's avatar

@CWOTUS: I used to work for a major electronics manufacturer (American company) and I learned that CB radios and radios that cops use are called “simplex” not half duplex. So there’s simplex and duplex.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@jca I thought simplex was broadcast radio AM and FM. Only one way.

jca's avatar

Just what I was told, in relation to all radios. I guess we’ll have to google it!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Well when I got my FCC Radio-Telephone license in the 1960’s the definition simplex was for Radio AM and FM or other only one way transmission over the airwaves. Apparently the ITU-T and the UN think simplex means one “AT A TIME”, which in the FCC definitions calls half duplex like walkie-talkies or CB’s.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here in B.C Canada we use VHF radios a lot more than cb’s the vhf has a lot more range.
My rig doesn’t have a cb my old one did but never turned it on.

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