Trucking cops flak for clogging up UHF

CB monitoring body says truck drivers using channel 35 on the UHF are putting lives at risk

January 17, 2013

Truck drivers clogging up the emergency UHF channel to chat with their comrades are putting the lives of others at risk, according to a CB monitoring group.

The Australian Citizens Radio Emergency Monitors (ACREM) says many drivers using channel 40 on the UHF are changing down a few channels and landing on channel 35 to continue their conversations.

ACREM Chief Commissioner Martin Howells says channels five and 35 are for emergency use only, with channel five used as the primary emergency channel and 35 as the input channel for all emergency repeaters.

"Many truckies know about channel five, but they don’t understand that channel 35 is also used and that the misuse of channel 35 will block any emergency repeater system close by, potentially placing lives at risk," Howells says.

Howells says truck drivers also need to understand that channels 31 to 38 may also be in use by other repeaters close by.

"Truckies may know about local repeaters operating on channels one to eight but they may not understand that all repeaters need two channels to work, the second channel being 30 channels higher. So if there is a repeater on channel six then channel 36 will also be in use," he says.

"The safest choice if they are changing channels from channel 40 so they can chat is to avoid all channels between 31 and 38."

ACREM says a road death occurred in Brisbane in 2004 when monitors took about 40 minutes to clear interference from the emergency channel. Monitors were told that during the time it took to clear the interference, an occupant had died.

"ACREM is desperate to avoid a repeat of this incident by educating CB users about the emergency channels," Howells says.

Penalties for misusing any designated channel include two years in prison or a $165,000 fine, while the penalty rises to five years imprisonment or a $550,000 fine if an emergency call is blocked.

Formed in 1975, ACREM is a volunteer group which monitors emergency channels and relays calls for assistance to emergency services. It also provides emergency communications during disasters and other emergencies that can disrupt land and mobile telephone networks.

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