Pennsylvania county using peer pressure for idling enforcement

| 7/18/2005

Officials in Allegheny County, PA, are using the tattletale system to help enforce new idling restrictions in the area.

Last week, the Allegheny County Health Department – with a service area that includes Pittsburgh – implemented a new regulation that prohibits trucks and buses from idling their diesel engines for longer than five minutes.

Violators will face fines of up to $500. However, exceptions will be made for vehicles that are picking up passengers, warming their engines or running heating and air conditioning for sleeping inside trucks’ cabs, The Associated Press reported.

Despite being a regulation, officials with the health department said they want to enforce the idling restriction by word-of-mouth in the neighborhood.

“It’s not something where you’re going to have a policeman there saying this (is a violation), but it’s peer pressure,” spokesperson Roger Westman told The AP. “It’s also going to be enforced by complaints.”

The Philadelphia area also has idling restrictions – two minutes in normal weather, five minutes in temperatures under 32 degrees and 20 minutes in temps below 20 – each of which carries a fine of $300. However, exemptions are only given for temperature, not for overnight sleeping, according to the EPA and the American Transportation Research Institute.