Rhode Island governor OKs idling restriction

| 7/13/2006

Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri signed a bill into law Monday, July 10, that is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks in the state.

The new law, previously H7756, prohibits truck drivers from idling their engines for more than five consecutive minutes in any 60-minute period. However, there are several exemptions for truckers.

Rep. Raymond Sullivan Jr., D-Coventry, said the new rule is meant to reduce smog and cut back on pollutants that have been linked to health problems, including asthma.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will have until July 1, 2007, to develop regulations to limit idling. The restriction will apply only to diesel engines.

Violators will face up to $100 fines. Subsequent violations will result in up to $500 fines.

Among the exemptions that will apply are for situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic, required by law enforcement to stop or “when it is necessary to operate defrosting, heating, or cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of the driver or passengers or to operate auxiliary equipment; when it is necessary to bring the engine to the manufacturer’s recommended operating temperature or when the engine is undergoing maintenance or inspection.”

The new law also clarifies that auxiliary power units and vehicles delivering fuel or energy products are not included in the restriction.

Sullivan said his bill is about common sense.

“There isn’t any benefit to letting an engine run unnecessarily. It wastes fuel and money, creates pollution and wears down your engine,” Sullivan said in a written statement. “I would hope that people would choose on their own to protect the environment, but it would be helpful to have a law to make people understand the importance of this issue.”