A failed effort in the Connecticut statehouse was intended to reduce unnecessary idling of motor vehicles throughout the state.
Despite the backing of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, legislators opted not to endorse the bill – SB123 – which sought to apply the restrictions to cars and trucks idling for more than three minutes. Vehicles would have been exempt from the idling restriction when temperatures are colder than 20 degrees.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection already has regulations in place to limit idling for all vehicles, but the agency says it has been difficult to enforce because there is no specific penalty.
Violators would have faced fines ranging between $35 and $90, plus other fees.
Advocates said it would benefit enforcement efforts to enact a new state law putting the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles in charge.
Supporters said that excessive idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality. They were hopeful the new rule would go a long way in making cleaner air more widely available throughout the state.
Others said it would be an economic benefit for consumers to cut down on wasted fuel.
Exemptions to the idling restriction would have included situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic or when idling is necessary to operate defrosters, heaters or air conditioners “to ensure the safety or health” of drivers or passengers. Operating auxiliary equipment “to accomplish the intended use of the motor vehicle” also would have been exempted.
In addition, the idling prohibition would not have applied when idling is necessary for maintenance work or inspection.
The effort can be brought back for consideration once legislators open the 2009 regular session.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut in 2008, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor