Idling restrictions fail in Rhode Island

| 8/6/2003

Rhode Island lawmakers failed to pass legislation restricting idling before the regular session ended last month.

H5190, sponsored by Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, was intended to keep diesel-powered vehicles from idling for long periods of time.

Under the bill, diesel vehicle idling standards would have been implemented, backed up by fines ranging from $75 for a first offense to $500 for a third or subsequent violation.

It called for prohibiting owners or operators of diesel-powered motor vehicles from allowing them to idle for more than five minutes, except under certain specified exceptions.

The bill would have also prohibited school buses with diesel engines from idling on school property or at “designated drop-off/pick-up zones.”

Exceptions from the idling restriction included a motor vehicle idling “for passenger compartment heating or air conditioning when required to maintain a specific temperature for passenger comfort by federal, state or local agencies; engines undergoing repairs that require idling,” McNamara said in a March statement.

The bill would have also allowed “diesel-powered engines to idle when the outdoor temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and to idle up to 15 minutes each hour when the outdoor temperature is between 20 and 32 degrees.”

A diesel-powered vehicle would have been permitted to idle up to 20 minutes from a cold start at the owner’s or operator’s place of business.