Washington, DC, region campaign to reduce diesel idling begins

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 7/14/2010

Truck and bus drivers can be fined for up to $25,000 for violating Virginia’s 10-minute diesel idling limit, and can be fined $1,000 for idling beyond three minutes in Washington DC.

Truckers often have good reasons to idle, and should be encouraged to purchase key-off power technology with a carrot, rather than a stick, approach, OOIDA argues.

A regional idle-reduction campaign in the Maryland and Virginia areas kicked off Tuesday in Washington, DC. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of idle-reduction laws in the Beltway region.

Mike Joyce, OOIDA legislative affairs director, spoke with several campaign stakeholders before the kickoff. Joyce said he pointed out the realities of trucking workdays to the group and also the challenges truck drivers face.

“I did inform them that it’s important for them to understand why truckers – especially long-haul truckers – idle,” Joyce said. “In Washington, DC, there are many buses, and tourist buses and a lot of LTL and delivery trucking that takes place, but long-haul drivers have challenges and idling needs that many people may not be aware of.”

Joyce told the group about OOIDA’s support for incentives to purchase idle-reduction equipment, and power needs for long haul-drivers who may be living out of their truck for weeks or months at a time.

“Paramount to this discussion is safety on our highways, and safety begins with the ability of a trucker to rest,” Joyce said. “When it’s 100 degrees outside, it’s 120 degrees in their truck. We’ve got to provide opportunities for truckers to rest and comply with hours of service, and to help the environment.”

The kickoff included speakers from the EPA, the District Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the American Trucking Associations and the American Bus Association.

The campaign’s Capitol Beltway location, in view of congressional players and many media outlets, brings more significance to the campaign, Joyce said.

“It puts a little bit more of a spotlight on it because it is right here in Washington, DC, and involves the Maryland and Virginia region,” Joyce said.

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