Locals get paid cash for tattling on idling trucks under ‘War on Idling’ effort

A new ad campaign featuring Billy Idol encourages locals to report idling trucks and allows them to keep 25% of the fine.

New York City has renewed efforts to cut down on idling vehicles with a new awareness campaign featuring rocker Billy Idol.

On February 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new ad campaign called “Billy Never Idles” designed to declare war on idling cars and trucks in New York City.

The ad campaign is meant to raise awareness about long standing anti-idling laws that forbid idling for longer than three minutes or more than one minute while adjacent to a school.

The ad campaign running now through the end of March features rock star Billy Idol and it encourages residents to document and report idling trucks with the promise of a cash as part of the “Citizens Air Complaint Program.”

The Citizens Air Complaint Program has been in place since 2018 and allows residents to go online to report illegally idling trucks and buses in exchange for cash — namely, 25% of the fine imposed on the commercial vehicle driver. The program does not allow for idling complaints to be filed against passenger vehicles. To report an idling truck or bus, residents must submit a video showing the vehicle idling for longer than the legal limit.

In support of the campaign, seven air and noise inspectors will be added to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to address the expected increased complaints.

In the VICE video below, environmental activist George Pakenham shows reporters exactly how he banked thousands of dollars by submitting evidence of idling commercial vehicles. In the 2019 video, he says he had earned $9000 for submitting 120 idling complaints. By February 2020, he says he’s earned around $17,000.

For more information on the Citizens Air Complaint Program, you can click here.