Over the past 20 years, state lawmakers have passed various legislation to minimize vehicle idling.
Generally, to trigger an investigation, anyone can report excessive idling. A local health department will initiate an investigation in response to complaints from one or more citizens regarding an illegally idling vehicle.
To verify a complaint and issue an enforcement action, investigations are usually performed, and the investigator must verify that the idling exceeds the state limit and is not allowed by one of the exceptions in the idling rule.
CDL drivers need to be aware of these laws, so you are less likely to be put in danger of large fines by an innocent mistake.
Here are the top 5 strictest anti-idling states.
0 Minute Unattended Idling:
Wyoming – Idling an unattended vehicle outside a business or residential areas is Illegal. Do not leave your vehicles idling all alone in the cold. While this covers a lot of places, it does not account for open stretches of road.
According to Wyoming Statute 31-5-509: “No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.”
The penalty is a misdemeanor charge and a possible $750 fine.
3-Minute Idling Limit:
Delaware – Idling of an on-road vehicle over 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight for longer than three minutes is prohibited in Delaware with some exceptions. Violators are subject to penalties of not less than $50 and up to $500 for each offense. Subsequent violations carry fines of from $500 to $1,500.
Washington DC – Motor vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel are not allowed to idle for more than three minutes while the vehicle is parked, stopped or standing. There is an exception for truck Idling when operating a heater when it’s freezing outside that extends the time to 5 minutes.
New Jersey – New Jersey has a 3-minute idling rule with an exception for sub-freezing temperatures and another one for sleeping berths. (Reference New Jersey Administrative Code 7:27-14.3 through 7:27-14.10 and 7:27-15.8)
Note: A late-2022 bill introduced at the New Jersey statehouse would change idle time to 2 minutes, with exceptions.
First offenses for passenger vehicles can result in $100 fines and $250 for commercial vehicles. Subsequent offenses can result in fines from $200 to $1,000.
Virginia – In commercial or residential urban areas, vehicles used commercially or for public service cannot idle for longer than 3 minutes while parked, unless the propulsion engine is providing auxiliary power for other than heating or air conditioning. Tour buses and diesel-powered vehicles in the state can idle for up to 10 minutes, according to the EPA.
There are also 11 states that limit idling to 5 minutes for most vehicles, with various exceptions or limits. These include California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Vermont.
Another four states limit idling time to 14 to 15 minutes. These are: Illinois, South Carolina, Nevada, and West Virginia.
Other articles you may be interested in:
- Pennsylvania Bill Will Fine Drivers for No Snow Removal and Changed Apportioned Registrations
- Truckers Traveling In Oregon Face Increased Tire Chain Law Fines This Winter
- How to Manage Trucking’s Four Seasons
All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:
- driver training that is ongoing and consistent
- driver education, and
- driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws
All of this will help prevent being a target for the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.