Philly laws no longer an idle threat

| Friday, April 22, 2005

Though they have been on the books since 1993, officials in Philadelphia have only recently decided to enforce two of the city’s idling laws.

Beginning May 2, truck and bus drivers in the city who leave their engines idling for longer than three minutes – except in cold weather, heavy traffic and certain other cases – will risk being ticketed and paying a $100 fine.

In addition, the city’s Department of Health has its own anti-idling rule, which carries a $300 fine for trucks left idling longer than two minutes.

The Health Department recently joined forces with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to increase enforcement of both rules, though each department will be responsible for its own rule.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the health department had not enforced its regulation because it has only four inspectors on staff. Parking Authority officials told the Inquirer they did not know why their agency’s idling law had not been enforced

Now, with their combined efforts, both groups are looking to step up enforcement and crack down on idlers.

While many state and local governments have anti-idling laws, enforcement of those laws is patchy. The Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this year that it hopes to change that by developing consistent idling laws and enforcement procedures across the country.

Philadelphia Diesel Difference, a non-profit environmental group dedicated to reducing air pollution from diesel engines, estimates that truck drivers spend between 1,800 and 2,400 hours per year idling.

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