Texas counties to begin enforcing idling restrictions

| Tuesday, July 26, 2005

As of Aug. 1, truckers driving in or through the five counties surrounding Austin, TX, will want to keep an eye on how long they’ve been idling. That’s the date those counties have set to begin enforcement of state idling restrictions.

According to the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition, the rules state that vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds will not be allowed to idle for more than 5 minutes during Ozone season – from April 1 through Oct. 31.

However, there are several exemptions that apply directly to truck drivers, including:

  • Vehicles idling in traffic congestion;
  • Military, emergency or law enforcement vehicles;
  • Vehicle owners that have rented or leased a vehicle to someone they do not employ;
  • Vehicles that require the motor to run as a power source for mechanical operations; and
  • Truck drivers who are idling to run air conditioning or heaters during a federally-mandated rest period.

The exemptions were OK’d by the Texas Legislature earlier this year and are in effect until 2007. Previous state laws allowed cities and counties to opt into a rule to outlaw idling for more than five minutes for any reason in a truck.

Members of the clean air coalition, which includes five counties and seven cities in the Austin area, will sign an agreement to enforce the regulations on Aug. 1.

Eight other counties around the Houston area already enforce the rules.

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