Cover Story
American Idle
Keyed off: Drivers scramble to keep up with ever-changing idling regs

By Charlie Morasch
staff writer

 

“You have a fancy ride, but baby
I’m the one who has the key.”
– Sheryl Crowe, “Soak up The Sun”

 

What was once a line in a song of independence is now sounding suspiciously like the unofficial mantra of areas that have implemented idling limits.

Thomas Perkins believes California is serious about its idling limit.

Perkins, an OOIDA member from Los Angeles, said he watched several enforcement officers wearing California EPA uniforms on June 17, writing tickets for trucks found idling at an Ontario, CA, truck stop.

Ontario hit a record 100 degrees that day, which made the spot enforcement even more surprising, Perkins said.

 “It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” Perkins said.

Hard-charging California remains a headache for truck drivers – and the model for other states that choose to enact or tighten idling.

On Jan. 1, California began enforcing an important change in its five-minute idling law: Drivers taking mandatory rest time would no longer be exempt.

California has written 15 notices of violation to commercial vehicle drivers for violating the idling rule, and assessed $2,300 in fines.

And idling restrictions are growing.

California’s environmental regulations can be adopted by reference by other states, effectively making the Golden State’s regulators as powerful as a federal agency.

In June, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection adopted on its own idling limits. Agencies in New Mexico, Minnesota and Colorado are working on their own.

Pennsylvania’s department of environmental protection has moved forward with its own idling limit proposal. It mirrors proposed state legislation to limit truck idling to five minutes per hour, unless drivers are in the sleeper berth in temperatures below 40 degrees or above 75.

The sleeper berth exemption expires in 2010, although at press time regulators planned to formally present the proposed regulation for adoption in August.

Florida’s proposed idling regulation is closer to California’s, though Florida plans to allow idling during mandatory off-duty time spent in the sleeper berth until 2013.

However idling limits are adopted and enforced, it’s clear they’re not going away. Even though veteran drivers remain skeptical of their motives, they’re doing what they can to cut diesel costs and cut emissions from air inhaled by themselves more than others. LL

charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

The regs

Arizona
Maricopa County

Time limit
 •  5 minutes
Fines
 •  $100 first violation
 •  $300 second violation
Exemptions
 •  Traffic or adverse weather
 •  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 $300
Exemptions
 •  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
 •  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
 •  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 where air meets EPA quality standards

COLORADO
City of Aspen

Time limit
 •  5 minutes in 1-hour period
Fines
 •  $1,000 maximum and/or
    1 year of imprisonment
Exemptions
 •  Safety reasons
 •  To achieve an engine temperature of 120 degrees and an air pressure of 100 pounds per square inch

Denver: City and County
Time limit
 •  10 minutes in any 1-hour period
Fines
 •  Not more than $999 and/or 1 year of imprisonment
Exemptions
 •  Less than 20 degrees for previous 24-hour period
 •  Less than 10 degrees
 •  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 degrees
 •  Maintenance
 •  Queuing to access military installation

DELAWARE
Statewide

Time limit
 •  3 minutes
 •  15 minutes if 32 degrees to minus 10 degrees
 •  No limit if less than minus 10 degrees
Fines
 •  $50 to $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

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Time limit
 •  3 minutes
 •  5 minutes if less than 32 degrees
Fines
 •  $500, doubles for each subsequent violation
Exemptions
 •  Power takeoff

FLORIDA
Statewide
Time limit
 •  5 minutes
Exemptions
 •  While driver is sleeping/resting in sleeper berth (expires September 2013)
 •  While stopped for traffic conditions beyond driver’s control
 •  To operate heat, A/C to prevent health/safety emergency
 •  To operate auxiliary equipment, lift, cement mixer, etc.

Editor’s note: This regulation is effective Dec. 15, 2008. Until then, Florida intends to warn violators but won’t write tickets.

GEORGIA
City of Atlanta

Time limit
 •  15 minutes
 •  25 minutes if below 32 degrees for passenger comfort/safety
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 to $2,500 per day
Exemptions
 •  Adjustment or repair
 •  Auxiliary equipment or power takeoff

ILLINOIS

Cities: Aux Sable, Goose Lake, and Oswego
Counties: Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Will, Madison, St. Clair, Monroe
Time limit
 •  10 minutes within any 60-minute period
 •  30 minutes within any 60-minute period: waiting to weigh, load or unload freight
 •  No limit when less than 32 degrees or more than 80 degrees
Fines
 •  $50 first conviction
 •  $150 for second and subsequent convictions in a 12-month period
Exemptions
 •  Traffic conditions/controls
 •  Prevent a safety or health emergency
 •  Emergency or law enforcement purposes
 •  Service or repair
 •  Government inspection
 •  Power takeoffs involving cargo or work functions
 •  Resting in a sleeper berth
 •  Mechanical difficulties
 •  Queuing

MAINE
Statewide

Time Limit
 •  5 minutes
 •  Additional 10 minutes if 32 degrees or colder
Fines
 •  Warnings for first offense
 •  $150 fines for repeat offenders
Exemptions
 •  Zero degrees or colder
 •  Traffic conditions
 •  Operation of defrosters, heaters or A/C to prevent safety or health emergency
 •  Operation of heaters or A/C while waiting to load/unload
 •  Maintenance, servicing, repair or diagnostics
 •  State or federal inspections
 •  Emergency vehicles

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
 •  Accomplish intended use

MASSACHUSETTS
Statewide

Time limit
 •  5 minutes
Fines
 •  Not less than $100 for first offense
 •  Not more than $500 for each subsequent 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
 •  Five-minute limit unless driver is in sleeper berth
Fines
 •  $200 for first violation, doubles for each subsequent ticket up to $2,000
Exemptions
 •  Permitted construction equipment
 •  Compliance with traffic signals or signs
 •  Emergency or law enforcement purposes

City of Owatonna

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

City of St. Cloud

Time limit
 •  5 minutes, West Germain Street from 8th to 10th Avenues
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 of imprisonment

Exemptions
 •  Emergency vehicles

St. Louis County

Time limit
 •  3 consecutive minutes
Fines
 •  Maximum $1,000 and/or 1 year of imprisonment
Exemptions
 •  Operating a loading, unloading, or processing device
 •  Emergency vehicles

NEVADA
Statewide

Time limit
 •  15 minutes
Fines
 •  $100 to $500 for first offense
 •  $500 to $1,000 for second offense
 •  $1,000 to $1,500 for third offense
 •  $1,500 to $2,500 for fourth and more offenses within a three-year period
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 commission
 •  To perform specific task

Clark County
(including Las Vegas)

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 rights-of-way
 •  To perform specific task
 •  Maintenance at repair facility

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Statewide

Time limit
 •  5 minutes if more than 32 degrees
 •  15 minutes if 32 degrees to minus 10 degrees
Fines
 •  To be determined
Exemptions
 •  Traffic conditions
 •  Emergency vehicles
 •  Power takeoff or heat/cool passengers
 •  Maintenance or diagnostics
 •  Defrost windshield
 •  Less than 10 degrees

NEW JERSEY
Statewide

Time limit
 •  3 minutes
 •  15 minutes if stopped for more than 3 hours and less than 25 degrees
Fines
 •  $100 for first offense
 •  $200 for second offense
 •  $500 for third offense
 •  $1,500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
 •  Traffic conditions
 •  Mechanical operations
 •  Waiting or being inspected
 •  Performing emergency services
 •  Being repaired or serviced
 •  Use of a sleeper-berth in non-residential areas before April 30, 2010
 •  Auxiliary power unit/generator set, bunk heaters etc.

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
 •  Comply with passenger comfort laws
 •  Auxiliary power or maintenance
 •  Emergency vehicles
 •  Within mines or quarries
 •  Parked for more than 2 hours and less than 25 degrees
 •  State inspections
 •  Farm vehicles

City of New Rochelle

Time limit
 •  5 minutes
Fines
 •  Up to $50 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
 •  Comply with passenger comfort laws
 •  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 to $500 and/or 20 days in jail on first offense
 •  $100 to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail on second offense
 •  $400 to $5,000 and/or up to 4 months on subsequent offenses
Exemptions
 •  Emergency vehicles
 •  Operate loading, unloading or processing device

Rockland County

Time limit
 •  3 consecutive minutes
Fines
 •  Not more than $250 and/or 15 days in jail on first offense
 •  Nor more than $1,000 and/or 15 days in jail on second and subsequent offenses
Exemptions
 •  Traffic conditions
 •  Comply with passenger comfort laws
 •  Power for auxiliary purposes
 •  Maintenance
 •  Performing emergency services

PENNSYLVANIA
Statewide

Editor’s note: As of press time, Pennsylvania’s environmental agency was planning to present a proposal to the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would update the Pennsylvania idling restrictions to, among other things, remove the sleeper-berth exemption.

Allegheny County

Time limit
 •  5 minutes
 •  20 minutes per hour if less than 40 degrees or more than 75 degrees
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 degrees
 •  20 minutes if less than 20 degrees
Fines
 •  $300
Exemptions
 •  None

RHODE ISLAND
Statewide

Time limit
 •  5 minutes in any 1-hour period
 •  15 minutes per hour when between zero and 32 degrees
 •  No limit when below zero
Fines
 •  Not more than $100 for first offense
 •  Not more than $500 for subsequent offenses
Exemptions
 •  Traffic conditions
 •  Ensure health or safety of driver/passengers
 •  Power work-related operations
 •  Sleeper cabs during federally mandated rest periods (expires July 1, 2010)
 •  Maintenance, serving, repairing or diagnostic purposes
 •  State or federal inspections
 •  Emergency or law enforcement purposes
 •  Auxiliary power unit/generator set

TEXAS

Cities of Austin, Bastrop, Dallas, Elgin, Lockhart, Round Rock and San Marcos
Counties of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson

Time limit
 •  5 minutes from April to October
Fines
 •  Varies by jurisdiction
Exemptions
 •  14,000 pounds 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 of imprisonment
Exemptions
 •  None

Salt Lake City

Time limit
 •  15 minutes
Fines
 •  Up to $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail on first offense
 •  Up to $2,500 and/or up to 1 year in jail on second and 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

This list is a compilation of information from: Land Line Magazine coverage; the American Trucking Research Institute that was updated in March 2008; the 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. LL

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