CB Radio History And Language

The CB (citizens band) radio was created in 1945 by Al Gross, inventor of the walkie-talkie. The FCC quickly designated a portion of the radio spectrum to be used by everyday citizens for personal communication. In 1958, the FCC designated 23 channels for CB use and later expanded that to 40 channels because of how popular CB radios got in the 1970’s. The popularity of the CB radio can be explained for a couple of different reasons.

The first big reason was in 1973 the oil crisis caused the cost of gas to skyrocket and shortages quickly developed causing the US government to implement at 55 MPH nationwide speed limit; drivers quickly learned that they could use CB radios to communicate with each other about gas stations that had gas and where police had speed traps set up. Another reason CB radios became so popular was the pop culture of the 70’s with movies like Smokey and the Bandit and songs like CW McCall’s Convoy featuring CB radios and truck driving lingo.

CB language was developed to warn other drivers of police officers up the road and to report other roadside emergencies. It is common for drivers to use specific lingo to communicate with each other. Below you can find a list of some of the lingo that was used during the CB radio craze.

Affirmative Yes
All Locked Up Closed weigh station
Alligator Pieces of tire on the road that could be dangerous
Back Door Something behind you
Back it down Reduce your speed/slow down
Bambi Deer
Bear Police officer
Bear Bite Speeding ticket
Bear Den/Cave Police station
Bear in the Bushes Officer hiding out of view
Billy Big Rigger Driver who brags about themselves or their truck
Big Road Interstate or large highway
Big Truck 18-wheeler or semi-tractor trailer
Black Eye Vehicle headlight is out
Bobtail Tractor without trailer
Brake Check There is traffic ahead and will need to slow down
Breaking Up Radio signal is cutting in and out/is weak
Brush Your Teeth and Comb Your Hair Police vehicle is radaring vehicles
Bumper Sticker A vehicle tailgating other vehicles
Chicken Coop Weigh station
Clean shot No police officers around
Dry Box Dry van
Evil Knevil Police officer on motorcycle
Eyeball See something
Four Wheelers Cars and other vehicles
Greasy Icy/slippery
Green Stamp Money
Hello, Come In I hear you
Mama Bear Female law enforcement officer
Mud Duck Weak radio signal
Negatory No
Reading The Mail Not talking, just listening
Roger Yes
Stay Loaded Well wishes/make money
Weight Cop D.O.T.
Wipin’ Her Feet Truck is slipping/sliding

While the CB radio isn’t as commonly used today, much of the lingo has hung around and become slang that has continued to be used by professional drivers and some of it is even used outside the CB radio world!

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