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.
However, there are several exemptions that apply directly to
truck drivers, including:
idling in traffic congestion;
emergency or law enforcement vehicles;
owners that have rented or leased a vehicle to someone they do not employ;
that require the motor to run as a power source for mechanical operations;
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