Why Drivers Still Need CB's

October 1, 2017

Why Drivers Still Need CB's

Joe Graham did what any responsible trucker would do when he saw the accident. But no one listened.

Graham was on I-90 near Erie, Pa., on Jan. 13, 2016, when he saw the beginnings of a pileup in the eastbound lanes. He got on his CB radio and tried to warn truckers approaching the accident.

“I yelled on that CB for 32 miles. Anytime I saw a truck, I tried to warn them. And nobody answered,” Graham recounted in a Facebook video.

The accident eventually grew to involve 85 vehicles, including 12 trucks. More than 18 people were taken to hospitals and the highway was closed for nearly six hours. Graham, who hauls chemicals, said some of the trucks might have avoided the pileup if they’d had their CB radios on.

“It’s very disheartening to realize I did everything I could to warn those guys they were coming up on a wreck. I yelled on the CB and yelled on the CB, just trying to get people to answer me. Thirty-two miles, no answers, no answers,” he said.

CB radios might be old technology, might be noisy, might be abused by people who just want to hear themselves talk, but they’re still a valuable safety tool. Nothing else allows truckers to communicate as quickly with nearby colleagues.

“Over the years, the need (for a CB) has diminished somewhat due to technology, but the need will never completely go away. It's a perfect way to get instant updates on traffic, weather, parking, and directions to a customer, in some instances,” said Thomas Miller, a member of the RoadPro Pro Driver Council.

“I have benefited numerous times from having a CB, from icy road alerts to traffic crashes up ahead and backed-up traffic. The one I remember the most was having a flat tire on my trailer. It was an inside tire and I couldn't see it. If I hadn't been told by another driver, it could have blown my other tire, causing it to shred and throw debris everywhere. Just one of the many examples,” Miller said.

Fellow Pro Driver Council member Libby Clayton said she uses her CB to get information about traffic jams and warn other drivers about accidents.

“I had an accident happen right in front of me. As I was pulling over, I called 911. Then I got on the CB to warn those behind me,” she said.

Veteran driver Henry Albert said truckers who abandoned their CBs years ago because the airwaves were clogged with unwelcome chatter will find them much clearer – and cleaner – now that it’s no longer a fad.

“It’s much better today than it’s been in a long time,” he said. “The CB is a great safety tool, especially Channel 19. Every trucker should have one.”

Take it from the truckers who know. CBs are a must-have on the road.