How Truckers Got a Handle on CB Radios


Breaker, breaker, one nine!  Got your ears on, good buddy?  From the iconic 1977 movie “Smokey and the Bandit” starring Burt Reynolds to the hit “Sad Song Teddy Bear” by Red Savine, CBs, or Citizen Band Radios, have been coloring our world since they were invented in 1947. 

Originally, CBs were called Class D Citizen’s Radio.  They were first used in the military.  Users were limited and highly regulated and were required to hold a license to operate one.

In 1977, all that changed.  Not only was “Smokey and the Bandit” a blowout at the box office, but 17 new channels were also added to the frequency access.  Licensing was no longer a requirement.  A new trend was born.

Truckers have used CB radios since 1973 when the industry experienced a ton of other changes.  With the gas shortage crisis going on, the national speed limit was reduced to 55 miles-per-hour across the nation.  Truckers were bored and wanted to communicate during their eternally long trips on the road.

Also, because time was money, they were also feeling the need for speed or, to “put the pedal to the metal”.  So, they incorporated the CB in order to clue each other in as to where a smokey had a bear trap, or, in layman’s terms…where a policeman hiding to radar.

The American public joined in the fun too.  They were amused and amazed at all the trucker slang.  CBs were flying off the shelf.  Eventually, the fad wore off…for the general public at least. 

Truckers are now able to use an app to accomplish most everything CB radios afford.  But, most truckers are having it.  The CB radio is a part of the legacy of truck drivers and isn’t something they intend to give up anytime soon.

When trucker Dean Collier was asked if he talks on a CB on every trip, he replied, “That’s a BIG 10-4!”

Some trucking jargon is just for fun and to pass the time.  Other slang is used to convey vital information, like a “barbershop” is a low overpass that could “take a little off the top”…a little of the top of the truck off, in other words.

There’s little doubt that the CB radio has saved a multitude of truckers from getting tickets.  But, it’s also for sure that with the help of CBs, truckers have saved one another from “taking a little off the top” and from being stranded beside the road indefinitely.  CBs have saved many lives by allowing truckers to make emergency calls for help before cell phones were in existence and even now, in dead zones.

If you are looking to join the trucking industry, you’ll want to get yourself a CB radio, for sure. Oh, and you might need a truck to go with it.  Or, you might already be trucking and want to upgrade your ride.

At MJ TruckNation, we are here to help you get behind the wheel.  With on-site financing and rock-bottom prices on our great selection of trucks, we will do our best to make it happen for you.  Give us a call today and we’ll get a “handle” on it. (561) 220- 9992.


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