Delaware begins enforcement of year-old anti-idling regulation

| Friday, September 01, 2006

Although the regulation’s been on the books for more than a year, enforcement officers are now officially cracking down on idling trucks in Delaware.

As of Friday, Sept. 1, the enforcement division of the state’s Department of Natural Resources began watching for trucks idling for more than three minutes. The move is in accordance with a regulation that passed into law in April 2005, which prohibits most heavy-duty vehicles from excessive idling.

Under the regulation, drivers of vehicles with gross vehicle weights of 8,500 pounds or more are allowed to idle for a maximum of three minutes. Violators face fines of $50 to $500 for a first offense, and $500 to $1500 for all subsequent offenses. Emergency vehicles are exempt from the regulation. A full list of exceptions can be found at www.dnrec.state.de.us/air/aqm_page/docs/pdf/REG_45.pdf, or by calling (302) 739-9402.

Kurt Reuther, chief of environmental enforcement for the state’s DNR, said that since the regulation’s passage last year, his department has been working to educate the trucking industry about the looming Sept.1 deadline.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes, doing outreach with a variety of different trucking firms and people in that industry, letting them know that we’d be starting this,” Reuther told Land Line.

Unlike many anti-idling regulations, which place the burden of enforcement on the state police, Delaware’s enforcement will be handled almost entirely by the DNR. And, according to Reuther, his department will be actively looking for offending trucks, as well as taking complaint calls from the public via a hotline number.

“We have a force of environmental protection officers that work out in a variety of areas throughout the state of Delaware,” he said. “They’ll be keeping an eye out for anti-idling violations.”

Reuther said the state police are also allowed to issue citations for the regulation, but said he was unaware of a similar enforcement push by them.

And as for the question of whether idling enforcement can ever be truly and thoroughly enforced, he said the number of trucks and truck parking facilities in the state will make it a relatively simple process.

“It would actually be somewhat easy for one of the environmental protection officers to basically just go watch,” Reuther said. “Watch the activities watch the areas where the trucks do their business, and if they don’t meet any of the exemptions and are idling for greater than that three-minute timeline, then it’s really just a matter of observing it and issuing the criminal summons from there.”

According to the August/September issue of Land Line Magazine, Delaware does not offer any type of incentive, grant or tax-break program specifically designed for truckers to purchase anti-idling technologies, such as an auxiliary power unit.

– By Aaron Ladage, staff editor
aaron_ladage@landlinemag.com

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