Connecticut bill intended to curb car, truck idling

| 3/26/2008

A bill on the move in the Connecticut statehouse is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of motor vehicles throughout the state.

With the backing of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the Legislature’s Transportation Committee voted 28-3 to approve a bill that would apply the restrictions to cars and trucks idling for more than three minutes. Vehicles would be exempt from the idling restriction when temperatures are colder than 20 degrees.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection already has regulations in place to limit idling for all vehicles, but the agency says it has been difficult to enforce.

Violators would face fines of at least $35.

Advocates say it would benefit enforcement efforts to enact a new state law putting the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles in charge.

Supporters say that excessive idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality. They are hopeful the new rule would go a long way in making cleaner air more widely available throughout the state.

Others say it would be an economic benefit for consumers to cut down on wasted fuel.

Exemptions to the idling restriction would include situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic or when idling is necessary to operate defrosters, heaters or air conditioners “to ensure the safety or health” of drivers or passengers. Operating auxiliary equipment “to accomplish the intended use of the motor vehicle” also would be exempted.

In addition, the idling prohibition would not apply when idling is necessary for maintenance work or inspection.

The next stop for the bill – SB123 – is awaiting clearance for consideration on the Senate floor.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor