West Virginia idling bill protects exemptions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/12/2012

A bill on its way to the West Virginia governor’s desk would continue a temperature exemption to the state’s idling restriction.

In an effort to reduce the frequency of unnecessary idling of trucks in the state, West Virginia lawmakers enacted a rule in June 2010 to prohibit diesel-powered vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds from idling for more than 15 minutes per hour.

Violators face fines between $150 and $300.

Affected trucks are exempt from the time limit rule when temperatures are lower than 40 degrees or higher than 75 degrees. The exception applies only at locations where trucks are legally permitted to park, including truck terminals, truck stops and rest areas – as long as idle-reduction technology is unavailable.

While loading or unloading, idling is allowed for up to 15 minutes in a 60-minute period, when necessary.

When the rule took effect nearly two years ago, the temperature exemption included a sunset date of May 1, 2012.

As the end date approaches, the House voted unanimously to endorse a bill to remove the sunset date on the exemption. Senate lawmakers agreed to changes clearing the way for SB544 to advance to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk.

Even though drivers who are idling their trucks while sleeping or resting are exempt from the rule, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association leadership says other concerns need to be addressed.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer has said there needs to be an industry-wide solution to appropriately address idling concerns. A solution requires involvement and cooperation from all responsible parties.

Exceptions to the rule in West Virginia also include situations when vehicles are stuck in traffic, when they are required by law enforcement to stop, or when idling is necessary “to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or cargo refrigeration equipment.”

In addition, idling restrictions do not apply to trucks exhibiting a label issued by the California Air Resources Board that shows the vehicle’s engine meets the optional NOx idling emission standard.

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

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