Pennsylvania enforcing new idling limits

| 2/9/2009

Truckers stopping in the Keystone State may now find little warmth from state officials at Pennsylvania truck stops and rest areas.

Pennsylvania began enforcing its new idling limit on Friday, Feb. 6. The law restricts diesel idling to five minutes per hour for vehicles that weigh 10,000 pounds or greater. Motor homes and farm equipment are exempt from the restriction.

Gov. Ed Rendell signed the law into effect in October, with enforcement coming 120 days later.

The law exempts idling to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or cargo refrigeration equipment, to regenerate DPF equipment or to install equipment “in order to prevent a safety or health emergency.”

Trucks loading or unloading may idle for up to 15 minutes in any contiguous 60-minute period.

A one-year temporary exemption for extreme cold and hot temperatures will allow drivers to idle while in the sleeper when temperatures are below 40 degrees or above 75 “during the rest or sleep period.” The exemption does not apply when trucks are parked at a location that offers “stationary idle reduction technology” during the beginning of the driver’s rest period. The extreme temperature exemption expires on May 1, 2010.

Teresa Candori, a spokeswoman with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said the idling law won’t include a “soft enforcement” at first, as many states have done to raise awareness before issuing fines. The extreme temperature exemption, she emphasized, only counts during the rest period.

“That will be in effect for one year, to allow those truckers who normally sleep in their trucks to make other arrangements,” Candori said.

Does Pennsylvania offer diesel idling financing or grant programs to help truckers comply?

“Not that I’m aware of,” Candori told Land Line.

Pennsylvania has also exempted trucks that meet California’s clean idle standards, including some MY 2008 engines that emit 30 grams or less per hour of NOx, which are considered clean idle.

The new idling law also requires certain truck stop owners to post signs to inform drivers that “idling is restricted in this Commonwealth,” the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said.

To read the state idling law’s full text, click here.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer