Should I Get Bluetooth or Not?


Should I Get Bluetooth or Not?

July 20, 2023

Should I Get Bluetooth or Not?

As professional drivers, we must be just that, professional. That means we must have the right tools for the job as any mechanic or commercial pilot would have. Federal regulations necessitate hands-free communication on our phones; however, speaker phones, whether integrated into the phone or connected to the stereo, are insufficient at best. This limitation leaves us with headsets as the preferred solution.

Wired headsets are just plain unsafe as well. The wire gets caught on armrests, arms, feet, and bottles of water in the cup holder. That leaves wireless Bluetooth headsets and other devices. Apart from the conversation itself potentially being a distraction at times, the Bluetooth headset can dramatically reduce the risk of distraction.

I have tested many different types of headsets, including over-the-ear single-sided options, as well as models with a removable side for better sound with both ears, while still complying with legal functionality by using just one ear. The RoadKing 4000 is an outstanding headset with top-notch performance with music and voice calls. The biggest drawback is the size and that it is not only over the ear but around the ear. I can’t do that because my head gets too hot, and my ear will sweat. The smaller ones that are on the ear usually have either too weak or too strong of a spring holding it to the head. That leaves bone conduction. I absolutely love my Aftershock Open Comm set with the boom mic. It is so light I often forget I am wearing it and both ears are always open. For calls it really is unmatched. For music, it has some drawbacks. Music with a lot of bass tends to tickle the side of my head if it is loud (it is music after all). While at MATS I thought they were playing overhead music (great soundtrack too), but it was my headset I had forgotten I had on.

Next is the new Road Dog Bluetooth XM radio. OUTSTANDING! Some great features are that you cannot only connect it with Bluetooth to the truck stereo but also pair it to your headset if you have a teammate. You can jam while the other driver sleeps. The hook-up is also different than in the past with only one USB wire from the power adapter to the radio. I have mixed feelings about this. With the antenna, USB, and aux cable (if needed) going to the power adapter, what if the adapter gets hot from bouncing around in the socket and must be replaced? You can’t use any adapter; you must reorder an exact replacement. The small new antenna works great though. The small one used to blind out from the cab and not receive a signal. However, with the new mount it is not only easier to move to a different truck but from coast to coast through I-90 and I-20 and I-5 to I-75 in either direction, I have yet to have it blind out from the cab. Clearly, a lot of thought went into this unit.

We have a myriad of options to choose from in terms of cost and functionality. I have learned that spending extra money on quality products pays for itself in the long run with durability. Long battery life is a must as well as noise canceling microphones when fueling next to a running refer unit. Choose wisely and know the rules as far as how many ears can be “covered” at one time.

All headsets mentioned in this article can be found at your local travel center or one along your route in the United States or Canada.

Author: Craig “10ring” Daniels is a Million-mile accident-free “Patriot Fleet” driver with Crete/Shaffer/Hunt for 9 years, and 12 years over the road. Having previously built roads for 20 years, he drove end dumps and lowboys and operated asphalt and concrete plants, all before becoming a superintendent. He has been a solo driver, and trainer, and continues as a mentor. You can follow him and his #signthetruck travels on TikTok @10ringcraigdaniels or Instagram @shaffer_patriot_46135.

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