California idling limit begins Jan. 1; misdemeanors possible

| Friday, December 28, 2007

Truckers who cross the California state line after Jan. 1, 2008, have a new reason to dread doing so: On New Year’s Day the state begins enforcing a new anti-idling measure that doesn’t exempt sleeper time.

For the past two years, California has enforced a five-minute limit on truck idling, but allowed drivers to idle during sleeper-berth time.

That changes with the New Year, and the California Air Resources Board has boosted fines for violating the idling rule from $100 to $300. CARB also increased the number of enforcement officers.

A CARB official confirmed to Land Line on Friday, Dec. 28, that egregious idling could result in fines of $1,000 per day and even criminal charges, although such prosecution would be rare.

“The 1,000 per day fine is something ARB can legally levy for the most flagrant violations and while its use is unlikely, it is not impossible,” said Karen Caesar, a CARB spokeswoman. “As for the potential to file criminal charges, that too, would be highly unlikely. However, the (California Health and Safety Code) gives us the option to charge this violation as a misdemeanor if the circumstances dictate.”

The new rule does include exemptions, although they’re mostly for temperature-dependent loads or for brief truck inspections, maintenance or windshield purposes.

Trucks may idle while queuing, while hauling temperature-dependent loads, to avoid a health emergency, or to defrost the truck’s windshield. Other exemptions include idling to regenerate an engine exhaust system’s diesel particulate filter “due to immediate adverse weather conditions affecting the safe operation of the vehicle or due to mechanical difficulties over which the driver has no control.”

More information is available at the California Air Resources Board’s Web site at www.arb.ca.gov.

Also on Jan. 1, 2008, CARB will begin enforcing a ban on diesel-powered APUs for trucks with 2007 or later model year engines. Model years 2007 and later will, however, be allowed to use diesel-powered APUs that have been retrofitted with a CARB-approved DPF filter. 2007 model year engines actually emit less diesel particulate than APUs.

OOIDA Member Richard Rollins recently told Land Line that the new idling law won’t bother him.

“I will never have to worry about a ticket there,” Rollins wrote in an e-mail. “I also intend to help them in their smog and pollution problems.

“My truck will no longer go into California.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

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