Pennsylvania bill intended to reduce idling emissions stalls

| 12/17/2007

The Pennsylvania Senate has put on hold until next year consideration of a bill that 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.

The measure – SB1095 – remained in the Senate Transportation Committee when lawmakers started wrapping up the 2007 regular session. It can be brought back for consideration there during the session that begins Jan. 1, 2008.

Idling rules already are in place in Allegheny County and the city of Philadelphia.

The Senate bill offered by Sen. Patricia Vance, R-Cumberland, 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 up to $150 fines.

A similar effort was offered to House lawmakers.

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

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor