The organization that started monitoring CB channel 9 in the US in 1962, the REACT International, Inc still exists, but membership is sparse, with few monitoring teams in existence.
The successful ones who uses high Power CB radios do not actively monitor channel 9, because it’s seldom used. Most motorists use cell phones in an emergency.
Truckers still use CB radios, mostly to chew the fat with other truckers on the road, if CB skip conditions allow it.
How Did It All Start?
In the ’70s and ’80s, many Washington State Patrol troopers had CB radios in their cars, so they could interact with the motoring public. They don’t do that anymore, it is a waste of resources and a constant irritation. They have many other official radios to monitor.
One of the React’s biggest events was to provide communications for the officials of the annual Bremerton Milk Carton Boat Race. They also volunteered to provide free coffee to motorists in the local freeway rest areas.
They also provided emergency communications for the local American Red Cross and the Kitsap County government emergency communications people, in addition to the local amateur radio emergency groups, and the local military MARS groups. Don’t forget to also check out do people still use CB radios?
All of those organizations are no more, except for ARES.
On the other hand, there is a new non ham radio volunteer group for neighborhoods, called CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). It’s sponsored by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to promote neighborhood self-help in any emergency.
Local neighborhood communications are done using license-free FRS (Family Radio Service) UHF hand-held radios (the ones you can buy at the local sports store for $20). All CERT members are trained, without any cost to the members.
There is no official monitoring of Channel 9 anywhere in Canada at present. Even in the past, it was rather spotty at best, and not organized even where there was some structure.
The monitoring of channel 9 is very spotty but still exists in some very remote areas in Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories). Private companies may also monitor that frequency.
Do People Still Use CB Radios? Truckers Only Or Others?
The introduction of the cell phone gave a mortal blow to the CB, and the rise of the smartphone, at last, pounded the last nails into its coffin. There isn’t much of anything that a CB radio offers that you can’t get easier with a smartphone.
CBs are still in regular use in New Zealand particularly amongst linehaul drivers.
If trucks are traveling the same direction, close to each other, and want to chat, most drivers will choose to switch to a different channel, unless it is a low traffic road and deep into the night.
You will find line haul trucks have their CB switched to channel 11, 27.345 MHz, though you will not find a lot of chatter on that particular channel.
It is used for immediate quick contact because the normal CB radio is the unlicensed low-power type that communicates over a distance of perhaps a maximum of 1 km. The high power bush radios must be licensed.
More normally, the CB common channel is used to pass messages to trucks coming to the other direction about road and traffic conditions; accidents, stock on the road, fallen trees, diesel spills, and slips.
Why Do Truckers Still Use CB Radios?
Crews moving houses and other oversize loads are suggested in the official handbook that they may use the common channel to tell truck drivers about the size of the obstruction they will face, and what action they have to take.
Besides that, drivers might communicate at longer distances by switching radio operated on a patchy nationwide network by telecoms companies. A company’s trucks may have a Teamtalk radio and are assigned a 2 or 3 digit fleet number.
Calls are made through a wee keypad on the handheld mic and after a pause, a connection is made through to the destination—which can be anywhere in the country—the distant receiver becomes the life and receives a brief ring.
Conversation can begin. It is a chargeable service and call durations are limited. Calls can be placed to terminals on other companies’ systems using an annoyingly long number; so that is not so popular.
The Modern Outlook:
The Teamtalk radio can be used to place calls into the public telephone network also but these are expensive and dispatchers get very grumpy when they find out.
The smartphone is certainly a popular device. It connects with the truck’s car radio via Bluetooth and all the text messages received are spoken aloud by a simple text-to-speech app.
Phone calls are received and answered in the car, with the car stereo speakers and a mic.
There is a variant of smartphones used for communications: the GPS device in the trucks would receive messages that would pop up on the screen with sometimes-useful information sent by the dispatcher.