Pennsylvania bill intended to reduce idling emissions

| 10/24/2007

A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks throughout the state. 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. Sen. Patricia Vance, R-Cumberland, has offered legislation 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.

The temperature exemption would expire after three years.

Violators would face $50 fines. Repeat offenders would face fines up to $150.

A similar effort is under consideration in the Pennsylvania House.

Supporters say that excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality. They have said that they are 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.

Vance’s bill – SB1095 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee. The House version of the 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.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor