APUs illegal in New York City? Nope

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/28/2011

The rumor mill is at again.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been fielding calls from concerned truckers looking for answers they hope will squelch talk out on the road about an alleged New York City restriction on the use of auxiliary power units.

The simple answer from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection: No such restriction exists.

It’s perfectly legal for a truck to have its auxiliary power unit on in the Big Apple, said Ian Michaels, DEP spokesman.

Michaels did acknowledge, however, it is quite possible that a truck driver could be ticketed for running his/her unit with the person issuing the ticket being under the false impression it is part of the engine.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that a truck driver was mistakenly ticketed for running an auxiliary power unit,” he said. “There are a couple of different agencies that can enforce the idling ordinance.

“The city’s Department of Environmental Protection has inspectors that are very well versed on the law. They are full-time environmental inspectors. The New York City Police Department also can issue idling violations. They don’t do it very often and aren’t necessarily fully trained in this type of thing. They have many other responsibilities as you can imagine.

“In addition, the DEP commissioner can appoint outside agencies to enforce certain sections of the code, such is the case at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx. They have their own security force for the market.

“Outside groups go through training with the agency to learn how to enforce the law.

But it’s entirely possible when you start to spread out jurisdiction among all these different agencies, some of which don’t necessarily have this as their primary responsibility, at some point or another that a truck driver could mistakenly be ticketed. But it seems to be a pretty simple case for the truck driver to contest.”

All idling offenses go before the city’s Environmental Control Board. A trucker wishing to contest a ticket can set up an in-person hearing by contacting the board. If you are unable to attend a hearing, simply send a letter to the board regarding the offense and any evidence to support your case. Contact information is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/ecb.html.

Current rules in New York City limit engine idling to three minutes. Violators could face fines of as much as $800, Michaels said. Exceptions are made for reefers, cement mixers and any vehicle that requires the engine to operate critical equipment.

Truck drivers with questions about New York City’s idling rules can call 3-1-1 while inside the five boroughs. Truckers calling from outside the area, should dial (718) 595-4418.