Pennsylvania bill would limit idling statewide

| 9/14/2007

A bill in the Pennsylvania House intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks throughout the state could draw consideration in the waning months of the legislative session. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while sleeping or resting would be exempt from the rule.

Idling rules already are in place in Allegheny County and the city of Philadelphia. Rep. Will Gabig, R-Carlisle, has offered a bill that would apply to all locations where diesel-powered vehicles load, unload or park. The restriction would apply to trucks idling for more than five minutes in any 60-minute period. Those same trucks could idle for up to 20 minutes in any 60-minute period when temperatures are lower than 40 degrees or higher than 80 degrees.

Gabig said excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality. He said he is hopeful the proposed restrictions would go a long way in making cleaner air more widely available throughout the state.

Exemptions would include 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” is not included in the restriction.

Gabig’s bill – HB1113 – is in the House Transportation Committee. All legislation must be approved by both chambers prior to the end of the regular session, which is scheduled for late November.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor