Not born to run: No idling for older trucks in NJ after May 1

| 4/13/2011

One of the East Coast’s most important trucking states is preparing to ban trucks older than the 2007 model year from idling altogether beginning on May Day. New Jersey, which has enforced a limited idling ban that allowed idling during federally required hours-of-service breaks for the last year, begins its 100 percent idling ban on May 1.

Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, told Land Line she is asking members of her organization and all truck drivers to write letters to New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin to ask for an extension of the idling exemption for rest periods.

“We need to speak up,” Toth said. “We want our drivers to send hundreds and thousands of letters. I think this is awful and I think that we in the trucking community need to stand up. We can’t strike – that’s illegal – but we can voice our opinion.”

New Jersey’s idling exemption for older trucks was originally scheduled to sunset on April 30, 2010, but the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection decided to extend the idling exemption until May 1, 2011.

Trucks with engines that meet or exceed 2007 model year engine specifications may still idle, as well as trucks that power mechanical operations such as lift gate pumps and cargo temperature; vehicles being serviced or repaired; motionless vehicles slowed by traffic congestion; and vehicles that have been stopped for three or more hours when temperatures are below 25 degrees, during which they’re allowed to idle for 15 minutes.

This week, Toth was notified by the New Jersey DEP that the state would not extend the idling exemption for older trucks again.

“I share your concern about the sleeping comfort of truck drivers, but there is also a significant risk to drivers and those citizens living in areas closest to the source of diesel exhaust,” Bob Martin, New Jersey DEP commissioner, wrote Toth.

Martin said the state has posted 10,000 “no idling” signs throughout the state, and noted that neighboring states Pennsylvania and Delaware banned sleeper berth idling last year.

Editor’s note:
Lieut. Gov. Guadagno can be contacted by phone at 609-292-6000, by email here, or by writing:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

DEP Commissioner Martin may be reached at 609-292-2885, or by writing:
401 E. State St.
7th Floor, East Wing
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402