When I first started driving, the CB was the only technology that could connect you to fellow drivers on the road. Drivers would while away the long hours of driving talking to each other, swapping tales, and warning other drivers of road hazards. There was a certain camaraderie then that seems to be greatly diminished with the advent of other technology.
The only time a driver could call home, or a dispatcher, was at a truck stop from one of the public telephones. And when I say public, I mean it. A driver couldn’t have a disagreement with either a spouse or a dispatcher without many people overhearing. You couldn’t even whisper sweet nothings in your significant other’s ear without someone hearing. It was pretty lonely out here on the road.
Enter the cell phone
The first handheld mobile telephone call was made on April 3, 1973, by a Motorola researcher and executive, Martin Cooper, to a person at Bell Labs. The phone was large and had a talk time of just 30 minutes before taking 10 hours to recharge.
Wikipedia has the complete history of mobile phones for those of you who want to look it up. It has only been since around 1997 that mobile phones were becoming available to most people. Technology advanced over the next decade or more, making data services being available on phones as well.
Now days, it might be hard to find a driver without a cell phone. Networks almost completely cover the map of the United States. Reception can still be spotty in some areas, but for the most part, a driver can call his Georgia girlfriend from California for only a monthly charge.
A driver can also check his bank balance, pay bills online, and surf the Internet from a phone. Holy science fiction!
Cell phones have become so prevalent among drivers that a rule was established requiring hands-free headsets or ear buds when a driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle. Evidently keying the CB mike wasn’t as distracting.
Texting while driving became possible, as well as checking your e-mail or Facebook. A complete ban on doing any of the above was necessary. Gory videos about accidents happening to the texting driver started showing up.
Modern technology has certainly made driving a truck a lot less lonely. At the same time, the CB chatter has gone way down, and hardly anyone has a CB handle anymore. The code numbers “10-4” are fading into obscurity.
We still have a CB in most every truck, but you just don’t hear the chatter you used to. Endangered are the great arguments that went on for miles, the totally profane but funny jokes that almost made you run off the road….not to mention the help from seasoned drivers that newbies could get in a pinch.
What do you all think – have cell phones killed the CB?
Tags: CB Radio
, Cell Phones