Blowin’ smoke: Florida to consider California-style idling regulation

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 6/18/2008

Florida may soon become the next state to clamp down on truck idling.

The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission is scheduled to consider a five-minute idling limit at its meeting on Thursday, June 19, that is similar to California’s idling regulation.

The regulation would go into effect on Dec. 15, 2008, and would apply to heavy-duty diesel engines for vehicles that weigh 8,500 pounds or more. Buses would be allowed to idle for passenger comfort.

Florida’s proposed idling limit would ban idling beyond five minutes, but would allow idling under the following exemptions:

  • While the driver is sleeping or resting in the sleeper berth;
  • While stopped during traffic conditions over which the driver has no control;
  • To operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or other equipment “to prevent a safety or health emergency;” and
  • To operate auxiliary equipment like a lift or cement mixer.

The sleeper berth exemption would expire in September 2013.

Florida looked to California and other states for examples of anti-idling regulations, said Julie Ferris, climate policy coordinator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Air Resource Management.

The new idling ban’s enforcement won’t be as important as education, at least immediately after the regulation is approved, Ferris said.

“For the first year of implementation, our emphasis will be on what we call compliance assistance,” Ferris said. “We want to help truckers understand that the rule is out there and give them time to learn about it.”

California’s idling regulation limits idling to five minutes per hour, unless a truck needs to idle for temperature-dependent loads or “to prevent a health emergency.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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