So let's talk about the Citizen Band, or CB Radio. generations, truckers depended on CB Radio.
It was their lifeline, their primary means of communication, and their chief source of information and entertainment.
No trucking movie of the seventies would be complete without the ever present CB. That's because no truck in the twentieth century would be complete without one.
And the American people ate it up.
Even those with no exposure to trucks were familiar with CB's. After all, how else would Uncle Jesse have known what the Duke boys were up to without those radios that somehow had a range that extended all over Hazzard County?
CB really took off in the 1970's as a nationwide 55 mph speed limit took a bite out of paychecks and truckers used it to avoid speeding tickets. And with Smokey And The Bandit hitting the big screen while Convoy played on the airwaves, soon everyone was playing along. Every truck, pickup, car, and home was fair game as America got caught up in the craze.
But like the Hula Hoop before and the Rubik's Cube that followed, the novelty soon wore off and by the 90's CB's were mostly in the hands of a few hard core enthusiasts, farmers and of course, truckers.
The birth of the internet and the affordability and convenience of smart phones have all played key roles in the recent decreased popularity of the CB among truckers.
There is current a division of thought among truck drivers regarding CB Radios. There are mixed feelings as to whether it is a vital tool, a fun toy, or an irritating distraction. I believe it is, at times, a little of each. Many of the hardcore, old school drivers swear that no truck is safe unless the CB is turned on so the driver can be aware of what's ahead, while others feel that the foul language, name calling, political bickering, race baiting and general trash talking that comes along with it make simply not worth the bother.
There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, and I have been called a variety of names and even invited to leave some social media groups, for expressing my somewhat neutral opinion.
Imagine if you will, a Facebook account where you were 'friends' with everyone within a five mile radius. Now imagine that everyone comments and posts anonymously. You can see how it could get ugly real quick.
On the other hand on the morning of Sept. 11 2001 Diann and I were in Western Pennsylvania, driving towards Washington DC, for a delivery that afternoon, when I turned my CB on and we learned that a plane had just hit the WorldTrade Center. That early knowledge helped us to stop and divert to a drop yard, before we got into the worst of the congestion and confusion. So I recognize that it can be a helpful tool if used properly.
My solution to the Great CB Controversy, is to Compromise.
I have a CB Radio installed in my truck. But I don't always use it. If I'm in heavy traffic, bad weather or congested docks and truck stops I'll be sure and have it on. But other than that it's hit and miss. I don't turn it on when I have a student on my truck, and I turn it off whenever it gets annoying.
It's kind of sad, the passing of an era. But one that I got to be a part of for a while.
10-4 friends, I'm going to back on out, ya'll keep it safe, keep the purty side up and the dirty side down, and we'll catch you on the flip-flop.
You can see more of my ABC's of Trucking here:
A - Attitude
B - Budget
C - CB Radio
and see what other people are inspired to post this week.