A New Year’s Resolution to Stop Idling and Reduce Our Carbon Footprint
January is the time to make plans and set goals for the coming year. Many people make resolutions to get more exercise and eat healthier foods, and these are two healthy practices.
Our Bike & Pedestrian Team works with more than 200 communities during the year to promote walking and biking. This year the team decided to talk about idling, the impact on kids, and the importance of reducing the amount of idling that happens around schools at drop off and pick up. Idling is when the engine in a vehicle is running, but the vehicle is not moving. An idling car produces 20 times more pollution than a car driving 30 mph and kids breathe 50% more air pollution per pound of body weight than adults and are more severely affected because their lungs are still growing. The #1 chronic disease for kids is asthma, and idling and vehicle emissions make asthma worse.
According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, “excessive idling causes an unnecessary release of air contaminants into the air in NJ, including fine particulates and air toxins. Every year, hundreds of New Jerseyans die prematurely from exposure to diesel exhaust and fine particle pollution and may cause more deaths in NJ than homicides and car crashes combined”. As a result, NJ law prohibits idling for more than three minutes, and drivers face a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for the third and subsequent violations. The exceptions are for vehicles in traffic, emergency vehicles providing service, and busses discharging or picking up passengers (15-minute idling limit).
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Complaints about idling vehicles can be made to the DEP’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at: