DEP RAMPS UP ANTI-IDLING EFFORTS TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
(07/36) TRENTON -- Citing dangerous diesel exhaust from trucks and buses as a dire public health threat, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced tougher regulations to curb vehicle idling and a statewide education campaign to raise New Jerseyans’ awareness that “idling stinks.”
“Unnecessary idling not only wastes fuel, but it also contributes to a number of health problems including asthma and heart disease," Commissioner Jackson said. "These rules will significantly reduce the amount of harmful soot in the air we breathe."
The DEP’s newly revised idling regulations, which become effective July 2, eliminate most of the exemptions that allowed diesel vehicles to idle for longer than three minutes. The rules are expected to decrease diesel emissions by 100 tons per year.
Also, diesel-vehicle drivers can no longer idle for 30 minutes at their place of business at the beginning of the day, nor can they idle for 15 minutes following a three-hour engine shutdown except in very cold temperatures. However, the new regulations provide some special exemptions for in-service emergency vehicles such as police, fire and military vehicles.
Violators are subject to a penalty of $250 to $1,000 per day for each vehicle.
Further, after April 30, 2010, truck operators are prohibited from idling their vehicles overnight. New technologies such as truck-stop electrification and alternate power units provide heating, cooling and other amenities without a running engine.
To educate all New Jersey drivers about the need to reduce vehicle idling, the DEP launched a statewide public-education campaign in June. Featuring the theme “Idling Stinks,” the campaign includes billboards, newspaper inserts, and bus and rail advertisements, all of which inform and educate the public that curbing idling improves air quality, saves lives and conserves energy.
The DEP's revised anti-idling rules and public-education campaign are part of larger effort aimed at reducing the public's exposure to harmful diesel fumes. In September 2005, New Jersey became first in the nation to require emissions controls on all public and privately owned transit buses and garbage trucks. The landmark program funds the installation of air-pollution controls on these vehicles with revenue generated from the state's Corporate Business Tax.
Diesel emissions are a likely carcinogen and include fine particles commonly called soot. Research has shown that fine particles are harmful because they bypass the body's natural defense mechanisms and penetrate deep into the lungs. These pollutants are linked to asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease and premature death.
To help further reduce diesel pollution, the DEP is partnering with the New Jersey Motor Truck Association to provide grants to truck owners to install technologies proven to reduce idling and save fuel. These technologies include alternate power units, bunk heaters and tailpipe retrofits. Interested truck owners can contact the NJMTA at (732) 254-5000 for more information on these grants.
For more information about the DEP's diesel program, visit www.stopthesoot.org.