West Virginia law limits idling

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/13/2010

A new rule in West Virginia is intended to reduce the frequency of unnecessary idling of trucks.

Gov. Joe Manchin has signed into law a bill that applies to diesel-powered vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Starting June 11, affected vehicles will be limited to idling for no more than 15 minutes per hour.

Violators would face fines between $150 and $300.

Officers with the division of public safety, sheriffs and deputies, municipal police officers and designated officers of the Public Service Commission are authorized to enforce the idling rules.

The idling restriction law is nearly identical to the rule implemented about a year ago in Pennsylvania.

As is the case in the Keystone State, affected trucks in West Virginia will be exempted from the time limit rule when temperatures are lower than 40 degrees or higher than 75 degrees. The exception applies only at locations where trucks are legally permitted to park, including truck terminals, truck stops and rest areas – as long as idle-reduction technology is unavailable.

While loading or unloading, idling will be allowed for up to 15 minutes in a 60-minute period, when necessary.

The temperature exemption expires May 1, 2012.

Supporters said that excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality. They are hopeful the restrictions will go a long way in making cleaner air more widely available.

A provision in the bill clarifies who is responsible for paying fines. Responsibility for idling violations could be placed on vehicle owners, as well as operators. In addition, owners or operators of locations where vehicles load and unload would also face fines for violations.

Even though drivers who are idling their trucks while sleeping or resting are exempt from the rule, leadership of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say other concerns need to be addressed.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said there needs to be an industry-wide solution to appropriately address idling concerns.

“This is a challenge that requires some involvement and cooperation from all responsible parties,” Spencer said.

Exceptions to the rule in West Virginia also include situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic, required by law enforcement to stop, or when idling is necessary “to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or cargo refrigeration equipment.”

In addition, idling restrictions will not apply to trucks that exhibit a label issued by the California Air Resources Board showing the vehicle’s engine meets the optional NOx idling emission standard.

One other provision increases the maximum gross vehicle, axle, tandem or bridge formula weight limits for trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology. Affected trucks will be authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Mike Joyce, OOIDA director’s of legislative affairs, said that with the new idling limits in West Virginia, it’s important for the state to plan for the availability of incentive programs for small-business truckers to easily purchase idle-reduction technologies.

To view other legislative activities of interest for West Virginia, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.

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