EPA idling law blueprint

June 1, 2006
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a model idling law for states to consider adopting. The model law was developed in response to trucking industry concerns that inconsistent state-by-state laws create a confusing tapestry of regulations for truckers to weave through. Acting as a facilitator rather than a regulator, EPA hosted a series of workshops in 2005 to gather input

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a model idling law for states to consider adopting. The model law was developed in response to trucking industry concerns that inconsistent state-by-state laws create a confusing tapestry of regulations for truckers to weave through.

Acting as a facilitator rather than a regulator, EPA hosted a series of workshops in 2005 to gather input from the trucking industry, states and environmental groups for the model law. Here are some of the key provisions:

  • The model law applies to commercial diesel vehicles that are designed to operate on highways and to locations where commercial diesel vehicles load or unload.

  • Operators of facilities where vehicles load or unload are not permitted to cause vehicles to idle for more than 30 min. while waiting to load/unload. (The goal here is to create a mutual responsibility on the part of facility operators and truck drivers to reduce idling.)

  • Owners or operators of vehicles are not permitted to idle their vehicle for more than 5 min. in any 60-min. period, with a number of specific exemptions for conditions such as on-highway traffic, operating onboard equipment such as refrigerator units or mixer bodies, during state or federal vehicle inspections.

  • Conditional idling exemptions are also included for trucks with sleeper berths that are idling for purposes of air conditioning or heating during a sleeping period and for passenger buses with passengers onboard. These exemptions expire five years after the state implements a financial assistance program for idle reduction technologies.

  • Generally, operating an auxiliary power unit or generator set as a means to heat or cool the cab or to provide electrical power as an alternative to idling the main engine is NOT considered an idling engine subject to idling regulation per se. (This was included for clarification because some drivers reported being cited for using APUs in no-idle areas.)

  • Operating an APU or generator set on 2006 model year vehicles or older is permitted. More stringent standards for APUs may be added subsequently beginning with model year 2007 vehicles.

  • The penalty for a first offense is a warning ticket only. The penalty for second and subsequent offenses is a $150 fine issued to the vehicle driver and/or a $500 citation issued to the registered vehicle owner or load/unload location owner.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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