Colorado law sets statewide idling rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/13/2011

The city and county of Denver now limit idling to 10 minutes each hour. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill to set a statewide idling standard for commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 14,000 pounds.

As of July 1, 2011, affected vehicles will be limited to idling for no more than five minutes per hour.

Communities are authorized to adopt the idling standard. However, local authorities are not required to enforce the state standard.

Supporters said the restriction is needed because excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality, and costs business more money. The 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.

The list of circumstances that exempt truckers in Colorado from the restriction is lengthy. Valid reasons to idle 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 are also 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 daycare or a hospital.

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

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Jack McComb of Littleton, CO, said as far as idling rules go the new law is reasonable.

“I’m OK with it. If we are going to have an idling law, it is good to see it include enough exceptions to make it a livable law,” McComb said.

He also said it will prevent local governments from setting up their own rules.

“One rule in place statewide makes it easier for everybody to know the rules.”

Revenue from fines will 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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