DEEP: 2002 - Stronger Limits Set on Idling of Motor Vehicles

Top 40
Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years

Stronger Limits Set on Idling of Motor Vehicles
(2002)
 
Background
In 2002, legislation was passed to strengthen the law against idling motor vehicles.  In an effort to protect school children from particulate emissions in and around school buses, the General Assembly acted that year to give ticketing authority to police who witness school buses idling for longer thatn three minutes.
 
Connecticut was ahead of its time on June 1, 1972, when regulations were adopted to limit the idling of motor vehicles in Connecticut.  This step was taken to protect air quality and public health from unnecessary excess tailpipe emissions.  Although this regulatory authority allowed the state to control emissions from vehicles, there was no enforcement authority for local governments.
 
Additional Details
 
The 1972 idling regulations allowed the DEP to enforce against idling motor vehicles.  Idling vehicles create emissions that contribute to the formation of smog and ground level ozone, and produce carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), fine particulate matter and a number of toxic air pollutants; that may impact children on or waiting for a bus.  While it is difficult for state field inspectors to catch those causing excess emissions by idling, there was later legislation that changed this - at least in the school yard.

Public Act No. 02-56 was signed May 9, 2002, providing local governments with ticketing authority when school buses idle illegally, expanding the Connecticut General Statutes as follows:  b) The operator of any school bus shall not operate for more than three consecutive minutes when the school bus is not in motion except (1) because of traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the operator has no control, (2) for necessary heating, cooling or auxiliary equipment, including, but not limited to, safety equipment, (3) when it is below twenty degrees Fahrenheit, (4) when it is necessary to maintain a safe temperature for students with special needs, (5) for repairs, or (6) when receiving or discharging passengers on a public highway or public road.
 
More Information
 
 
What You Can Do To Help
 
Do Not Idle Your Vehicle – Do not warm up your car unnecessarily.  Do not leave a vehicle idling while you shop or visit, even to drop something off.
 
Request No-idling Signs For Schools – One free “idling of vehicles is prohibited” sign can be obtained for your school and additional signs can be purchased from our DEP store.
Request for signs for schools.
 
Support Legislation to Expand Local Anti-idling Enforcement - In 2007, DEP proposed a bill which would have allowed state and local police to issue infractions for violations by motorbuses of the state’s existing idling limitation.  Enhanced anti-idling enforcement would be an additional step in a more comprehensive anti-idling strategy that DEP proposed in our Connecticut Clean Diesel Plan that was delivered to the Legislature in 2006.  Local infraction authority would provide a cost-effective and efficient approach to improve air quality and immediately reduce the exposure of Connecticut residents to the potential health impacts of motor vehicle exhaust.  Furthermore, reducing engine idling saves the operator money by conserving fuel and reducing engine wear.