Texas law covers idling issues

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/21/2011

Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill to permit trucks with “clean idle” engines to idle while also providing an incentive to reduce idling. The new rule took effect immediately.

Texas law now limits idling to five minutes per hour from April to October in cities that include Austin and Dallas. Counties that make idling off limits are Bastrop, Caldwell, Collin, Hays, Kaufman, Tarrant, Travis and Williamson.

Previously SB493, the new rule removes the idling restriction for trucks equipped with a 2008 model year or newer engine that is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Heavy-duty engines certified by a state environmental agency to emit fewer than 30 grams of NOx per hour also qualify.

In the bill analysis, Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, wrote that “during many months of the year, it is impossible for a driver to get the rest he or she needs without air conditioning or heat.”

Also included in the new rule is a provision to increase the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology.

Commercial vehicles equipped with auxiliary power units are authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Supporters said the allowance rewards independent truck drivers and large trucking firms for using technology to increase fuel economy and decrease emissions.

States are granted federal authority to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.

OOIDA has long advocated adoption of the 400-pound exemption, even before the federal authority was granted. Association leadership supports the exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install APUs onto trucks.

Texas is one of 28 states to include the weight exemption in statute. There are 16 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.

States yet to permit the 400-pound exemption are California, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Texas, 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.