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TSQ: Do you think the CB radio has run its course?

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Much like popcorn and movies, gin and tonic, and Mom and apple pie, trucking and the CB radio seem to go almost inseparably hand in hand. But the days of this long-time pairing may be numbered – at least if the...


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Much like popcorn and movies, gin and tonic, and Mom and apple pie, trucking and the CB radio seem to go almost inseparably hand in hand. But the days of this long-time pairing may be numbered – at least if the province of Ontario has anything to say about it. It appeared that until recently, the CB radio was destined to join Ontario’s list of hand-held items banned while driving.

However, a provincial reprieve will allow their continued use until at least 2018, while the industry scrambles to develop and commercialize hands-free alternatives to two-way radio technology.

Will efforts from CB diehards be enough to save the dated device before the exemption expires, or is it destined to suffer the fate of so many technologies before it? We stopped by the Husky Truck Stop in Mississauga, Ont. to see if drivers think the CB is on its way to becoming obsolete.


Christopher Nolan, a driver with Airtime Express out of Montreal, Que., says that while he still has a CB, he doesn’t use it often.

“I don’t have conversations with it on the road or something. I use it for if traffic gets stalled up to find out what the problems are, you know, detours, things like that,” he said.

“I think a lot of guys use it for the same reason I do…but with (modern) technology, I don’t know what’s in the future for the CB radio.”


Ron Taylor, a driver with LMB Transport out of Belleville, Ont., says that despite being currently without a CB (“It blew up!”), he still likes using it for general conversation with other drivers.

That said, “cell phones are taking over in the emergency stuff which used to be done with the CB. You could take the CB and you’d call somebody at a truck stop and get hold of police or whoever you needed. GPS is looked after, so not getting lost is easy. But (the CB radio) is still handy,” he says.

Taylor also notes that talking with other drivers using a 10-4 phone is a good – and more private – alternative to the CB.

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Forty-five-year veteran Bill Hornbrick, a driver with Team Advantage out of Grand Valley, Ont., says he thinks there will always be a place for the CB in trucks.

“When you’re out here by yourself, you need to talk to somebody. So that’s primarily what it’s for – keep you awake and alive,” he said.

“CB ain’t put me in a ditch yet. Neither has a telephone. The people in cars going down the road wobbling all over the place reading newspapers and s–t, maybe they ought to look at that.”


Burt McArthur, a driver with Pole Star Transport out of Moncton, N.B., says he still likes to use his CB to know what’s going on down the road.

“That’s probably the most common thing that happens is it informs you of traffic tie-ups, accidents, anything like that. Just general information that a truck driver can benefit from,” he said.

“Between satellite radios and cell phones, it’s really getting to be a thing of the past, but still, to me, it ranks up there as a necessity.”

– Do you have a suggestion for a future question for the Truck Stop Question column? We would love to hear from you! Send your suggestions to Adam Ledlow  on Twitter at @adamledlow, on Facebook at facebook.com/trucknews or via e-mail at adam@transportationmedia.ca.


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