In 2011, students at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a sturvey to find out how many truck drivers complied with the state’s Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act.
The students surveyed drivers at rest areas along Interstate 81 in Cumberland County. The students found that more than 1/3 of the drivers were idling longer than the law allows.
Four years ago, Pennsylvania passed the anti-idling act. The law prohibits truck drivers from idling longer than 5 minutes per hour. To date: only three tickets have been issued to offenders– one ticket was issued in 2010 and 2 were issued in 2011; all three were issued at industrial plants near Philadelphia, Public Opinion Online reported. The fine for violation is $150 to $300.
When the act was passed, money was to be set aside for enforcement. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it had 341 employees designated to enforce the law; however, the employees have said in order to do so, they must conduct sweep or spot checks. The DEP employees said they have safety concerns with doing so and have requested the state police accompany them.
Many drivers say they don’t comply with the law, because there aren’t many other options. APUs are expensive to install and some carriers do not allow them. Companies that provide plug-in service, such as IdleAir, are only available at select truck stops.
At this time, many in the state are leaning toward education over enforcement. An estimated $2.5 million is wasted on idling per year. Idling costs approximately $4.00 per hour. Advocates say that appealing to the carrier’s bottom line might be the best course of action.
Drivers, what do you think needs to be done? Should APUs be standard equipment on trucks?