Vermont bills would impose idling restriction

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A proposed rule to crack down on the unnecessary idling of cars and trucks is up for consideration at the Vermont statehouse. If approved, the rule change would end the state’s distinction as being the lone holdout in the New England region not to have idling restrictions.

Vermont already limits how long buses can be left idling outside of schools.

Nearly identical House and Senate bills would include most motor vehicles in the state’s idling restriction. Affected vehicles would be limited to idling for no more than three minutes per hour.

Exceptions would be made for emergency and military vehicles in certain situations.

Advocates say that excessive 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 get off with a warning. Repeat offenses would result in up to $150 fines with subsequent offenses resulting in up to $350 fines.

Examples of circumstances that would warrant additional idling are to ensure the “health or safety of a vehicle occupant” or when idling is necessary to heat or cool a sleeper berth during a rest or sleep period

The Senate version of the bill would also include a driver education component. Specifically, courses would be required to include instruction on the adverse effects of unnecessary idling to the environment and health.

One more idling bill – H327 – would authorize the state’s Secretary of Natural Resources to adopt rules to limit unnecessary idling.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, encourages Vermont truckers to communicate with their lawmakers about the issue.

“As this and many other issues unfold, it is always a good idea for truckers to talk with their lawmakers,” Spencer said.

H288 and S756 await consideration in their respective committees on transportation. H327 is in the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

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

Editor’s Note: You are welcome to share your thoughts with us about this story. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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