The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a model idling law for states to consider adopting. The model law was developed after a series of five workshops in response to trucking industry concerns that inconsistent state-by-state laws create a confusing tapestry of regulations that truckers have to weave through.
Acting as a facilitator rather than as a regulator, EPA gathered 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 minutes while waiting to load/unload. This rule would address idling at facilities such as distribution centers, retail stores and ports. According to EPA, this would foster 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 five minutes in any 60-minute 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, idling because of mechanical difficulties, etc.
- 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 or strategies.
- Generally, operating an auxiliary power unit (APU) 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.
For more information on the model law, go to www.epa.gov/smartway/idle-state.htm#modellaw.
FleetOwner has also recently published a variety of resources for idle reduction: