A bill that was introduced just weeks before the end of the
regular session in Pennsylvania to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks in
the state has died.
Sponsored by Rep. Will Gabig, R-Carlisle, the bill remained
in the House Transportation Committee last month when lawmakers went home for
The bill - HB3079 - would have applied to locations where
diesel-powered vehicles load, unload or park. The restriction would have
applied to trucks idling for more than 5 minutes in any 60-minute period. Those
same trucks could have idled for up to 20 minutes in any 60-minute period when
temperatures are lower than 40 degrees or higher than 80 degrees.
Gabig said the rule change is needed because "excessive
truck idling is extremely detrimental to the air quality in Pennsylvania."
In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while
sleeping or resting would have been exempt from the rule. Other exemptions
would have included situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic, required by
law enforcement to stop or when idling is necessary "to operate defrosters,
heaters or refrigeration to prevent a safety or health emergency" that is not
part of a rest period.
The operation of auxiliary power units, generator sets or
"other mobile idle reduction technology" was not included in the restriction.
Pennsylvania isn't the only state this year to pursue idling
restrictions for large trucks. Lawmakers in Illinois and Rhode Island approved
idling limits while lawmakers in Michigan continue to discuss a similar rule.
A bill in the Michigan Senate Transportation Committee would
prohibit diesel-powered vehicles with gross vehicle weights of more than 8,000
pounds from stationary idling for more than 10 minutes per hour in areas that
include Detroit and Ann Arbor.
The bill - SB1406 - would authorize exemptions for
situations that include when vehicles are stuck in traffic, required by law
enforcement to stop or when idling is necessary "to operate defrosters,
heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment solely to prevent a safety or
The operation of auxiliary power units needed to load,
unload, mix or process cargo, and control cargo temperature are among the
activities that are not included in the restriction.
The idling rule would be waived when temperatures are less
than 32 degrees or higher than 80 degrees.
- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor