Why do truckers say “10-4”?

Some people have heard truckers talking over the radio or with each other and utter a couple of numbers and codes including “10-4.”  The words “10-4” actually represent a number code that some truck drivers use to mean that they understood what they are being told or that they are affirming what has been said by the other person.  Using “10-4” in communications via radio or mobile phones, for example, is a common thing for some truck drivers which is why some people have heard so many of them uttering this particular code.

The designation “10-4” is part of many so-called “10-codes” that correspond to various coded messages starting with the number “10.”  Communication through 10-codes was commonly done by people involved in law enforcement. Eventually, though, the 10-codes were spread and used by private people using a CB or citizens band radio.  Ten-codes basically shorten various common phrases and sentences which is why some people prefer to use them during radio communications.  Ten-codes like “10-4” were first used back in 1937 and were used by various law enforcement agencies to improve communications in terms of standardization and the shortening of phrases.  By 2006, though, the U.S. government had pushed to stop using 10-codes in communications between various agencies because of the different interpretations on some codes.  Some 10-codes may mean one thing for a group or agency while they may mean something else to some other groups of people.

The use of 10-codes is still being practiced, though, by some people including truckers and some people that work for the government.  In the police department, for example, some still use various coded messages to describe certain details about a certain case or crime. For truckers, 10-codes also represent coded messages that they could use every day for their own activities.  Aside from “10-4,” other codes used by truckers include “10-6” when trying to tell the other person that one is busy, “10-1” when the person is unable to copy or understand the other person on the line, and “10-20” to indicate location.

 

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