Oregon adopts statewide idling rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/27/2011

Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law a bill to set a statewide standard for idling. Commercial vehicles are prohibited from idling for more than five minutes each hour on property open to the public. Violators would face $180 fines.

Enforcement can be carried out by state and local law enforcement.

Various exceptions to the rule are included. Examples of circumstances that warrant additional idling are to operate defrosting, heating, or air conditioners, or “installing equipment necessary to comply with manufacturers’ operating requirements, specifications, and warranties, or with federal, state or local safety regulations.”

An exception would also be made for air conditioning or heating during a rest or sleep period when the outside temperature is below 50 degrees or above 75 degrees.

The exception would not apply if the truck is equipped with an auxiliary power unit or other idle-reduction technology. It would also be unacceptable to park near a grade school and idle, regardless of temperature.

Another exception to the five-minute rule would be made for idling up to 30 minutes while a truck is waiting to load or unload, as well as actually loading or unloading.

Also, cities and counties are prohibited from setting up their own rules to regulate truck idling. Unaffected by the new law is the city of Ashland’s idling ordinance. The ordinance is grandfathered in.

Critics said the pre-emption blocks cities and local governments from adopting stricter rules.

Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, said the new rules are a step forward for the state. He also noted that local governments still have authority in their zoning code to decide where truck routes are and where trucks can park.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Oregon, 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.