CARB ticketing truckers for violating five-minute idling limit

| 1/16/2009

Brent DeLarge pulled into the maintenance shop lot, not knowing which bay to pull in.

Jumping out and shutting the door on his 2004 Western Star with custom sleeper, DeLarge quickly walked in to ask about having his belts checked.

DeLarge, an OOIDA member from Mission Viejo, CA, apparently made one tragic mistake: He waited patiently while a maintenance shop employee at the TA in Barstow took a phone call before taking his truck information and directing him to a specific bay.

Because his truck was parked and running for six minutes, a state employee in an unmarked pickup truck issued DeLarge a citation that will likely cost DeLarge at least $300.

California truck stop visitors, beware – the California Air Resources Board is aggressively pursuing drivers who idle diesel trucks beyond the state’s five-minute limit.

Several truck drivers have reported to Land Line Now and Land Line Magazine that CARB enforcement officers have been watching truck stops in Barstow and Ontario, CA in recent days.

Eunice DeLarge, who owns the Western Star truck her husband drives, said the CARB enforcement officer had a California EPA jacket and was being escorted by California Highway Patrol.

“I guess the highway patrol was nearby because you can get some drivers that will be very irate,” Eunice DeLarge told Land Line. “This black, unmarked pickup was going around the property of the truck stop and taking notes when drivers were leaving their trucks idling. He would then radio the environmental guys, who came over.”

With the economy tanking and many drivers struggling, Eunice DeLarge said she and her husband were upset that CARB showed little mercy for such a minor example of idling that they believe could be characterized as a truck maintenance issue.

The enforcement officer is using an unmarked pickup truck to watch trucks idle, OOIDA members Larry “Trucking Dad” and Tammy “Nightingale” Moseley of Nineveh, IN, told Land Line.

The Moseleys – who make regular runs to California – use an APU to avoid fines.

“They weren’t messing with people running APU units,” Tammy Moseley said.

CARB’s idling regulation prevents diesel trucks from idling more than five minutes unless such idling was for safety, maintenance, for temperature-dependent loads or to prevent a health emergency.

In 2008, California began enforcing a new idling limit that no longer exempts sleeper time, although it does exempt idling of trucks carrying temperature-dependent loads, performing safety or maintenance checks, and “to prevent a health emergency.”

On an interesting note, the CARB officer who issued Brent DeLarge the ticket noted one thing that caught Eunice DeLarge’s eye.

In addition to the motor carrier, vehicle information and location of the alleged violation, the officer wrote “dog inside the cab,” a reference to the DeLarge’s 1-year-old chocolate lab, Sarah Marie.

“We almost never leave the truck idling,” Eunice told Land Line. “We have a generator on there for good reason. It wasn’t like he was parked out in the truck stop, just letting it run for hours.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer