By Charlie Morasch
Trucks in New Jersey will be allowed to idle during rest periods after all.
Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, learned in March that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection was extending the idling exemption for rest periods until spring 2011.
The news came through a letter from Bob Martin, acting commissioner for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Martin said New Jersey State Police and the state DOT “recommended the exemption remain in place for one year due to safety concerns.”
New Jersey’s idling regulation was scheduled to sunset on April 30 – preventing all trucks with pre-2007 model year engines from idling except for extreme temperatures and emergency situations.
Toth said she is glad state officials realize the potential safety concerns created by not allowing drivers to idle during rest periods, but that there is more work to be done.
“While it is a victory, there is still more to be done,” Toth said. “We are working to change the rule so the exemption is allowed after 2011 as well. I can’t imagine that this being a safety issue now will somehow change in the next year.”
Other exemptions for idling in New Jersey include powering mechanical operations such as lift gate pumps and cargo temperature; vehicles being serviced or repaired; motionless vehicles slowed by traffic congestion; and vehicles that have been stopped for three or more hours when temperatures are below 25 degrees, during which they’re allowed to idle for 15 minutes.
In his letter, Commissioner Martin mentioned the distribution of grant money for truck owners to purchase APUs and bunk heaters, as well as $2.6 million in state money spent on installing truck stop electrification.
“Although the recent closing of IdleAire reduces the number of idling alternatives available in New Jersey, it is our hope that those facilities will resume operations in some format,” Martin wrote. LL