Bottom Line
The Winds of Change
Idling laws: A state-by-state advisory

By Aaron Ladage
staff writer

Although the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program has established a model idling law, it’s exactly that – a model. Because states are not required to use the model law, anti-idling rules vary from state to state, county to county, city to city and even street to street, in some cases.
Some jurisdictions allow Exemptions, which include everything from traffic and weather conditions, warming up the engine or cooling it down, waiting to undergo a roadside emissions inspection and rest periods mandated by hours-of-service rules. 
Other jurisdictions don’t allow any Exemptions under any circumstances.
With the current patchwork of rules and ever-changing statutes and codes, it is impossible to compile a comprehensive list. However, listed here are some of the more commonly encountered locations and the rules currently in effect there.

ARIZONA 
Maricopa County
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• $100 first violation
• $300 second violation
Exemptions
• Traffic or adverse weather conditions
• Emergency or law enforcement purposes
• Power takeoff involving cargo or work functions
• Conform to manufacturer’s specifications
• Maintenance or diagnostics
• HOS compliance

CALIFORNIA 
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• Minimum $100
Exemptions
• Resting in sleeper berth beyond 100 feet of residential units (exemption ends January 2008)
• Traffic conditions
• Queuing beyond 100 feet of residential units
• Adverse weather conditions or mechanical difficulties
• Vehicle safety inspection
• Service or repair
• Power takeoff involving cargo or work functions
• Prevent safety or health emergency
• Emergency vehicles

City of Sacramento
Time limit
• 5 minutes
• Prohibits reefer operation within 100 feet of residential or school areas unless loading or unloading
Fines
• Not less than $100 and not more than $25,000 per violation
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions/control
• Traffic conditions
• Vehicle safety inspection
• Service or repair
• Conform to manufacturer’s specifications
• Power takeoffs involving cargo or work functions
• Prevent safety or health emergency
• HOS compliance at truck/rest stop

Placer County (NE of Sacramento)
Time limit
• 5 minutes
• Prohibits reefer operation within 100 feet of residential or school areas unless loading or unloading
Fines
• $50 minimum
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions/control
• Traffic conditions
• Vehicle safety inspection
• Service or repair
• Conform to manufacturer’s specifications
• Power takeoffs involving cargo or work functions
• Prevent safety or health emergency
• HOS compliance at truck/rest stop
• Operate intermittent equipment
• Attainment areas (air meets EPA quality standards)

COLORADO 
City of Aspen
Time limit
• 5 minutes within any 1 hour
Fines
• $1,000 maximum and/or 
1 year imprisonment
Exemptions
• Safety reasons
• To achieve an engine temperature of 120 F 
and an air pressure of 
100 lbs/square inch

City and County of Denver
Time limit
• 10 minutes in any 1-hour period
Fines
• Not more than $999 and/or 
• 1 year imprisonment
Exemptions
• Less than 20 F for previous 24-hour period
• Less than 10 F
• Emergency vehicles
• Traffic conditions
• Being serviced
• Auxiliary equipment

CONNECTICUT
Statewide
Time limit
• 3 minutes
Fines
• Not more than $5,000 per week
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties
• Ensure safety or health of driver/passengers
• Auxiliary equipment
• Conform to manufacturer’s specifications
• Less than 20 F
• Maintenance
• Queuing to access military installation

DELAWARE 
Statewide
Time limit
• 3 minutes
• 15 minutes if 32 F to minus 10 F
• No limit if less than minus 10 F
Fines
• $50-$500 per offense
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties
• Conform to manufacturer’s specs
• Repair
• Emergency vehicles
• Using auxiliary equipment/power takeoff
• Power during sleeping or resting beyond 25 miles of truck stop with available electrified equipment
• Vehicle safety inspections

GEORGIA 
City of Atlanta
Time limit
• 15 minutes
• 25 minutes if below 32 F
Fines
• $500 minimum
Exemptions
• To perform needed work
• Traffic conditions
• Natural gas or electric vehicles

HAWAII 
Statewide
Time limit
• 3 minutes for start up/cool down
Fines
• $25-$2,500 per day
Exemptions
• Adjustment or repair
• Auxiliary equipment or power takeoff

ILLINOIS 
Statewide
Time limit
• Cannot leave running unattended
Fines
• Not more than $500
Exemptions
• None

Chicago and East St. Louis
Time limit
• 10 minutes per hour while stationary
• 30 minutes per hour while waiting to weigh, load or unload
Fines
• $50 for first offense
• $150 for subsequent offenses in 12-month period
Exemptions
• Waiting in a line of vehicles that regularly and periodically moves forward
• Less than 32 F
• More than 80 F
• Operation of defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment necessary to prevent a safety or health emergency
• Use of auxiliary equipment required to accomplish the intended use of the vehicle, such as controlling cargo temperature, loading, unloading or mixing

MARYLAND 
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• Not less than $500
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties
• Heating, cooling and auxiliary equipment
• Conform to manufacturer’s specifications

MASSACHUSETTS
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• Not less than $100 for first offense
• Not more than $500 for each succeeding offense
Exemptions
• Being serviced
• Delivery for which power is needed and alternatives unavailable
• Associate power needed and alternatives unavailable

MINNESOTA 
City of Minneapolis
Time limit
• None in residential areas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., including reefers
Fines
• $700 maximum and/or 90 days imprisonment
Exemptions
• Permitted construction equipment
• Compliance with traffic signals or signs
• Emergency or law enforcement purposes

City of Owatonna
Time limit
• 5 minutes each 5 hours 
in residential areas
Fines
• $1,000 maximum and/or 90 days imprisonment
Exemptions
• None

City of St. Cloud
Time limit
• 5 minutes, West Germain St. from 8th to 10th Ave.
Fines
• Not more than $200
Exemptions
• None

MISSOURI 
City of St. Louis
Time limit
• 10 minutes
Fines
• up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail
Exemptions
• Emergency vehicles

NEVADA 
Statewide
Time limit
• 15 minutes
Fines
• $100-$500 for first offense
• $500-$1,000 for second offense
• $1,000-$1,500 for third offense
• $1,500-$2,500 for fourth and more offenses 3 years
Exemptions
• Variance has been issued
• Emergency vehicles
• Snow removal equipment
• Repair or maintain other vehicles
• Traffic congestion
• Maintenance at repair facility
• Emission contained and treated per control officer
• To perform specific task

Clark County
Time limit
• 15 minutes
Fines
• Not more than $10,000
Exemptions
• Variance has been issued
• Emergency vehicles
• Repair or maintain other vehicles
• Traffic congestion
• Emission contained and treated per control officer
• To perform a specific task
• Maintenance at repair facility

Washoe County
Time limit
• 15 minutes
Fines
• Not more than $250 for first offense
• Not less than $250 or more than $500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Emergency vehicles
• Snow removal equipment
• Repair or maintain other vehicles
• Traveling on public right-of-way
• To perform specific task
• Maintenance at repair facility

NEW HAMPSHIRE 
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 minutes if more than 32 F
• 15 minutes if 32 F to -10 F
Fines
• To be determined
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions
• Emergency vehicles
• Power takeoff
• Maintenance or diagnostics
• Defrost windshield
• Less than 10 F

NEW JERSEY 
Statewide
Time limit
• 3 minutes
• 15 minutes if stopped for more than 3 hours
• 30 minutes if permanently assigned
Fines
• $200 for first offense
• $400 for second offense
• $1,000 for third offense
• $3,000 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions
• To perform needed work
• Waiting or being inspected
• Emergency vehicles
• Being repaired
• Connecting, detaching or exchanging trailers
• Sleeping or resting in a sleeper-berth in non-residential zone unless equipped with auxiliary heating/cooling

NEW YORK 
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• Not less than $375 or more than $15,000 for first offense
• Not more than $22,500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions
• Auxiliary power or maintenance
• Emergency vehicles
• Within mines or quarries
• Parked for more than 
2 hours and less than 25 F
• State inspections
• Farm vehicles

New Rochelle
Time limit
• 5 minutes
Fines
• Up to $375 and/or 15 days in jail for first offense
• Up to $100 and/or 45 days in jail for second offense within 18 months
• Up to $250 and/or 90 days in jail for subsequent offenses within 18 months
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions
• Auxiliary power or maintenance
• Emergency vehicles
• Within mines or quarries
• Parked for more than 2 hours and less than 25 F
• State inspections
• Farm vehicles

New York City
Time limit
• 3 minutes
Fines
• $50-$500 and/or 20 days jail time for first offense
• $100-$1,000 and/or up to 30 days jail time for second
• $400-$5,000 and/or up to 4 months for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Emergency vehicles
• Operate loading, unloading or processing device

PENNSYLVANIA
Allegheny County
Time limit
• 5 minutes
• 20 minutes per hour if less than 40 F or more than 75 F
Fines
• Warning for first offense
• $100 for second offense
• $500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Traffic conditions
• Queuing
• Cool down/warm up per manufacturer’s recommendations
• Sleeping/resting in truck
• Safety inspections
• Ensure safe operation
• Emergency vehicles
• Power accessory or service equipment
• Repair or diagnostics

City of Philadelphia
Time limit
• 2 minutes except on layovers 
• 5 minutes if less than 32 F
• 20 minutes if less than 20 F
Fines
• $300
Exemptions
• None

RHODE ISLAND 
Statewide
Time limit
• 5 consecutive minutes in any 60-minute period
Fines
• Up to $100 for first offense
• Up to $500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
• Traffic
• Required by law to stop
• Operating defrosting, heating or cooling equipment for the health or safety of the driver or passengers
• Operate auxiliary equipment
• Maintenance or inspection
• Auxiliary power units

TEXAS
Cities of Austin, Bastrop, Elgin, Lockhart, Round Rock and San Marcos; Counties of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson
Time limit
• 5 minutes April-October
Fines
• Varies by jurisdiction
Exemptions
• 14,000 lbs GVW or less
• Traffic conditions
• Emergency or law enforcement
• To perform needed work
• Maintenance or diagnostics
• Defrost windshield
• HOS compliance

UTAH 
Statewide
Time limit
• Cannot leave running unattended
Fines
• Not more than $750 and/or not more than 90 days imprisonment
Exemptions
• None

Salt Lake City
Time limit
• 15 minutes
Fines
• Up to $1,000 and/or no more than 6 months jail time for first offense
• Up to $2,500 and/or not more than 1 year jail time for subsequent offenses within 2 years
Exemptions
• Reefer unit if more than 500 feet from any residence
• To heat/cool sleeper-berth if more than 500 feet from any residence
• Emergency vehicles

VIRGINIA 
Statewide
Time limit
• 10 minutes in commercial or residential urban areas
Fines
• Not more than $25,000
Exemptions
• Auxiliary power

District of Columbia
Citywide
Time limit
• 3 minutes
• 5 minutes if less than 32 F
Fines
• $500
• Doubles for each subsequent violation
Exemptions
• Power takeoff

This report is a compilation of information from the American Trucking Research Institute (updated August 2005), EPA and California Air Resources Board. This information is intended to be a general overview and may not be complete. It should not be relied upon as a complete source of state, county and local restrictions.

aaron_ladage@landlinemag.com

Aug/Sept Digital Edition