Colorado lawmakers approve idling rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/1/2011

The city and county of Denver now limit idling to 10 minutes each hour. The state Senate and House have signed off on a bill to set a statewide idling standard for commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 14,000 pounds. Gov. John Hickenlooper can sign or veto the bill, or let it become law without his signature.

Affected vehicles would be limited to idling for no more than five minutes per hour.

The bill – HB1275 – authorizes communities to adopt the idling standard. However, local authorities would not be required to enforce the state standard.

Supporters say the restriction is needed because excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality, and costs business more money. The proposed restriction is touted as going a long way in making cleaner air more widely available.

Violators would face fines of up to $150. Repeat offenses could result in up to $500 fines.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Jack McComb of Littleton, CO, said enforcement of idling restrictions can be tricky.

“An officer should understand that if it is cool or it’s hot and they knock on the door to tell the driver not to idle, they’ve disrupted his 10 hours of rest. If you talk to the cop, you have to restart your hours of rest,” he said.

The list of circumstances that would exempt truckers in Colorado from the restriction is lengthy. Valid reasons to idle would include situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic or when idling is necessary to heat or cool a sleeper berth during a rest or sleep period at a rest area, truck terminal, truck stop, or “state-designated location designed to be a driver’s rest area.”

Truckers getting rest would also be exempt from the restriction while parked at a location where the vehicle is legally permitted to park, as long as it is located at least 1,000 feet from housing, a school, a day care or a hospital.

An exception for cold temperatures would kick in when the thermostat dips below 10 degrees. Under such circumstances, idling would be allowed for up to 20 minutes per hour.

Fine revenue would be distributed between the state’s highway fund (65 percent), counties (26 percent) and cities (9 percent).

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

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