Roadside Attractions

Overdrive Staff | March 01, 2011

Chinese play hardball with toll cheat

A gravel and ag hauler evaded $560,000 worth of road tolls and got handed a life prison sentence. No, it wasn’t another scam to avoid the $4-plus per-mile charge to cross the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, where a trucker in 2009 was caught using custom-rigged flip-up plates to avoid automated tolls. Rather, in China’s Henan province, Shi Jianfeng, according to Associated Press, ran two trucks with fake military license plates that avoided tolls more than 2,000 times. After public outcry over the severity of the sentence (and the high tolls), the central government reportedly revisited the sentence and put court officials who delivered it under investigation themselves.

Giving Back

The Marshall and Katherine Cymbaluk Tower, a $500 million project, will open June 14 with 240 patient rooms and a new 79-room emergency department.

A $5 million gift from the Cymbaluk family of Everett, Wash., owner of the Motor Trucks dealerships, made possible a new medical tower at Providence Regional Medical Center in the Cymbaluks’ hometown. The center thanked them for what ranks as the largest philanthropic gift Providence Everett has ever received by naming the tower after them. The family business has a three-location International dealership in western Washington state and Kenworth Northwest, with six locations in Washington and Alaska.





“When I was born, in the 1960s, both my grandfathers were driving, one for Yellow, the other in an old twin-stick Mack daycab running Schlitz beer around Milwaukee. I was into it from the time I could page through his Overdrive magazine.”

— Robb Mariani, host of the “American Trucker” TV series on the Speed Channel, crediting much of his obsession with trucking to early fascination with the longtime Voice of the American Trucker. The half-hour series premiered Feb. 24 and runs at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Thursdays.

Freight stabilizes as conditions brighten

Miles peaked in the second quarter of 2010 and then fell across segments, due, in part, to rising fuel costs, but are still higher than most of 2009, according to client data from financial services provider ATBS. Except for a drop of 3 cents in flatbed income for the fourth quarter of 2010, incomes remained level. Trucking revenues and rates are expected to flourish this year, says consulting group FTR. Its Trucking Condition Index reflects tightening conditions for hauling capacity.

Dry Van - Red, Flatbed - Yellow, Reefer - Blue

Going independent

 Overdrive Senior Editor Max Kvidera writes about getting your own authority in the March edition of sister publication Truckers News. Look for the full story on truck stop racks or read the digital edition at, but in the meantime, here’s why going independent can be a great thing — for certain operators:


• MORE MONEY Running under your own authority can open the door to added revenue. You’ll keep more of every load’s revenue for yourself, particularly if you’re working directly with shippers and receivers rather than brokers.

• MORE FREEDOM You’ll work where and when you want. That flexibility can be rewarding, but too much time off and you won’t generate necessary revenue.

• GROWTH POTENTIAL If you manage your business well and find there’s more demand than you can handle, you’ll have the opportunity to add trucks and drivers. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.