DEEP: Connecticut Anti-Idling Initiatives

Anti-Idling Efforts In Connecticut

Turning Off Your Engine Helps Save Fuel, Lives and the Environment
Reducing emissions from idling motor vehicle engines is one of the most important air-quality issues in Connecticut today.  Because the state is committed to reducing air pollution, protecting our health and improving the environment, "No Idling" is the law!
         Idling Causes Air Pollution
  • An idling vehicle spews air toxics, chemicals, gases and particulate matter ("soot") into the air, contributing to regional haze, acid rain and global climate change.
  • An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour.
  • Every gallon of gas burned produces more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gases!
Idling is Unhealthy
  • Breathing in exhaust can aggravate asthma, allergies, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Exhaust emissions increase school absences, ER visits, and even premature deaths.
  • Emissions are still present and harmful, even when you can't see the exhaust.
Children are more sensitive to air pollution because they breathe 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults. 
Idling Wastes Fuel and Money
  • For each hour spent idling, a typical truck burns approximately one gallon of diesel fuel, and a typical car wastes 1/5 of a gallon of gasoline.
  • 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it!
  • Idling is like burning dollar bills!
  • Take action and stop unnecessary idling! 
  • Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors and school bus drivers.  It's an easy way to contribute to a healthier community!
  • Be inspired to start a No Idling Campaign in your community like two Connecticut kids who started "Little People, Big Changes", and won a 2008 Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award for their work!
  • Encourage your school district to post No Idling signs and sign a No Idling pledge.
  • Drive your car to warm it.
  • Do not use remote starters.
What's the Law in Connecticut?
Connecticut law prohibits vehicles of all kinds from unnecessary idling for more than 3 minutes.  Provisions are made for weather extremes, certain service vehicles and health-related conditions. 
For text on Anti-Idling Regulations in Effect in Connecticut:
R.C.S.A. 22a-174-18   - This regulation applies to ALL vehicles in Connecticut and is enforced by DEEP Field Staff.
An Act Concerning the Idling of School Buses; Public Act No. 02-56; Signed May 9, 2002.  This regulation gives ticketing authority to police who witness school buses idling for longer than 3 minutes.
  {Idling }
Anti-Idling Compliance Initiatives and Enforcement   
{Photo of AntiIdling Sign}
The goal of the CTDEEP is to achieve idling reduction through voluntary compliance.  However, the law is in effect now and violations are subject to enforcement action.

Connecticut DEEP's Air Management Field Staff work to ensure compliance with Connecticutís idling restriction by monitoring vehicle behavior at rest areas, schools, truck stops and at commercial delivery points, and pursuing enforcement when idling violations are observed. Field staff also respond to complaints of idling vehicles, when citizens report problems to the DEEPís complaint line.

Please call DEEPís Air Quality Complaint Line to report idling: (860) 424 Ė 3436

CTDEEP continues to target excessive idling of motor vehicles with an ongoing enforcement initiative.  An increased field inspection presence in locations where excessive idling is likely to occur has resulted in the issuance of numerous Notices of Violations.  Most recently, in August 2008, a Consent Order was issued to a bussing transportation company operating in Windsor Locks, which had repeated documented occurrences of excessive idling.  The Order requires the company to develop and implement an Anti-Idling Education and Training program for its staff and included a financial penalty.

The Environmental Protection Agency has initiated several enforcement actions against companies that violate state idling laws. For further information on EPA anti-idling enforcement activities, please go to: EPA Region-1 Idling Enforcement

The EPA also established the Smartways Transportation Partnership.  The Partnership is a voluntary collaboration between U.S. EPA and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.  For further information please go to:


To help separate idling fact from legend, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioned its own "mythbusting" team and is show casing the findings in a video parody of the popular television show, "Mythbusters."
Like their Discovery Channel counterparts, the "scientists" at work in the DEEP production, "Wastebusters - Idling Myths" conduct rigorous experiments and analysis to definitively prove that idling vehicles do waste gas and unnecessarily pollute the air.
The four minute "Wastebusters - Idling Myths" show was produced by DEEP in cooperation with the Corporate Media Center at Middlesex Community College (MXCC).
Additionally, DEEP recently produced an Idling "Ticket" Brochure (PDF) 

which upon closer inspection is "just a friendly reminder to do your part to reduce engine idling, conserve our natural resources and help us all breathe a little easier."  It is used by Field Staff to help them relay the message that "Idling is fuelish".

Anti-Idling Signs

DEEP continues its effort to reduce unnecessary idling and increase awareness of the environmental and health effects of idling on schoolchildren, by providing free anti-idling signs to Connecticut public schools that agree to post them. Research shows that constant reminders, such as anti-idling signs, significantly improve compliance rates with an idling restriction.  

DEEP also partnered with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to develop and post anti-idling signs at Connecticut rest areas to help increase awareness and compliance rates among truck drivers and the general public who visit these facilities.

School Anti-Idling Efforts

Monitoring studies have identified idling time, and more specifically multiple school buses idling while waiting in a line as being a primary exposure pathway for diesel exhaust emissions. The proximity of school bus drop off and pick up locations allows diesel exhaust to enter school buildings via air intakes, where lower air exchange rates can result in elevated pollution levels for extended periods of time. {School bus}
Whereas funding and programs have been developed to retrofit school buses in an effort to reduce or eliminate diesel exhaust emissions, these programs have finite resources and cannot immediately reduce all children's exposure to diesel exhaust. Therefore, the DEEP has embraced anti-idling efforts as a cost-effective way to significantly and immediately reduce exposure to diesel pollution. 
The Connecticut Association of School Transportation Officials (COSTA) joined the DEEP in recognizing the serious threat diesel exhaust poses to childrenís health and the quality of the air we all breath.  DEEP and COSTA collaborated on a Memorandum of Understanding seeking pledges from school bus drivers to turn their engines off upon arriving at their destination. 

Commissioner McCarthy Letter to School Superintendents regarding Anti-Idling, April 25, 2005 

Bus Driver Notice

Letter from DEEP and the Connecticut School Transportation Authority

Environment Canada "Turn It Off" Community Based Initiative

Related Information on the Connecticut Clean School Bus Program

Anti-Idling Signs for Schools

All Connecticut school districts are invited to participate in the anti-idling signage program. DEEP has already provided thousands of signs to Connecticut schools.  Nearly eighty percent of Connecticut school districts are participating in the program.  If your school system has not requested signs yet but would like to do so, please complete and submit our Anti-Idling Sign Request Form for Connecticut Schools.

Anti-Idling Sign Request Form for Connecticut Schools (Word , PDF )

Content Last Updated on February 27, 2014