Roadside Attractions

Overdrive Staff | November 01, 2011

Paying too much for too little

For Overdrive’s interview with Charlie Daniels, who performed during the Charlotte Diesel Super Show in North Carolina, see the Sept. 16 entry on the Channel 19 blog:

“If you looked at each individual 18-wheeler and the taxes that the trucker pays – fuel, tolls, this and that, permits and all the crap they have to put up with – we ought to be able to pave every inch of the U.S. with the money we get from truckers. But … only 20 to 30 cents of each dollar goes toward something truckers need. It’s just ridiculous.” — Charlie Daniels

Actor with ‘square jaw’ once wrote for Overdrive

Actor and former Overdrive correspondent Charles Napier died in Bakersfield, Calif., Oct. 5. He was 75.

For more about Charles Napier, check out his recently published memoir, “Square Jaw and Big Heart,” available in electronic and print editions.

Napier was in his mid-30s when he worked as a correspondent for Overdrive, a job he took after appearing in the 1970 flick “Moonfire,” a trucking-themed movie produced by Overdrive founder Mike Parkhurst. He’s perhaps best known for his roles as one of the Good Old Boys in “The Blues Brothers” and the lead intelligence officer in the “Rambo: First Blood Part II.”

Keep those thumbs on the wheel

If you’ve been tempted to text while driving, you’ll appreciate the clever message from high school science teacher Marsh Carroll. ZoomSafer, a fleet software provider, commissioned Carroll to do a song and video supporting the anti-texting message. Carroll, a stand-up comedian in his spare time in Manitoba, Winnipeg, went to his science students, who put together drawings that told of a truck driver’s journey through the temptation of texting across the United States. Carroll, with his son Gil on guitar, did the music. Scan this code to view the video on your smartphone, or search “Won’t Start Texting” on


Chicago leads nation’s bottlenecks

Routes in Chicago, Fort Lee, N.J., and Houston head 2010’s worst bottlenecks for truck freight, says the American Transportation Research Institute. With I-290 at I-90 and I-94 in the Windy City being the most congested road, trucks crawled at little more than 22 miles per hour during rush hour. Over last year, 250 locations were monitored to document chokepoints at peak travel times.

“The impact of traffic congestion on truck travel is well-known, but rarely in a fashion where we can pinpoint projects for resource allocation and reconstruction,” says Keith Bucklew, Indiana DOT’s multimodal planning manager.

Ten most congested highways

Chicago I-290 at I-90/I-94

Fort Lee, N.J. I-95 at SR 4*

Houston I-45 at U.S. 59

Houston I-10 at I-45

Houston I-10 at U.S. 59

Gary, Ind. I-65 at I-80

Austin, Texas I-35

Chicago I-90 at I-94 North

Atlanta I-285 at I-85 North

Chicago SR 60 at SR 57

*State Route

Rates stabilizing

Shipping rates fell by 3 cents and 1 cent in the flatbed and reefer segments, respectively, from August to September, while jumping 3 cents in the dry van markets.

Oct. 3, 2011 diesel price averages

FUEL SURCHARGE INDEX ( prices are collected daily from more than 5,500 truck stops and averaged along specific routes.

Credit where credit’s due

When John “J.W.” Jackson joined George Bennett Truckline in 1960, he was part of a five-truck fleet. More than 50 years later, Jackson’s still there with what is now Bennett Motor Express and 575 drivers. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.