Under New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations (N.J.A.C. 7:27-14), diesel-powered vehicles are prohibited from idling for more than three consecutive minutes if the vehicle is not in motion. As part of its enforcement efforts, the DEP is targeting various types of diesel-powered vehicles that operate on State roadways. These include long-haul trucks and short-haul delivery trucks, charter buses and public transportation buses. These regulations also apply to businesses at which trucks are idling, even if the owner of that business is not the owner of the truck. (For example, if a delivery truck operator violates the three-minute idling limit while making a delivery, the owner of the truck and the owner of the business receiving the delivery will be fined.) Finally, the DEP also has limited many of the exemptions that were included in the old regulations. The new regulations took effect July 1, 2007. Information is provided below.
—What the DEP Is Doing–
DEP inspectors are targeting convenience stores, bus staging areas, public entertainment venues, retail centers, truck yards, rest stops, warehouse distribution centers and loading/unloading areas to ensure that diesel-powered vehicles are complying with all applicable regulations. The DEP, with the help of the local environmental health agencies throughout the State, will also respond aggressively to resident complaints.
—What It Can Cost You—
Failure to comply with the idling standards will result in violation notices and fines for the property owner and the vehicle operator. Therefore, even if you do not own a truck, you can still be fined if a truck is idling for over three minutes at your place of business. Penalties are $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation, $1,000 for the third violation and each subsequent violation.
—What Has Changed as of July 2007—
Under the rule adopted in July 2007, certain exemptions which allowed trucks to exceed the three-minute idling
limit were changed as follows:
- Diesel vehicles are no longer allowed to idle for up to 30 minutes at an operator’s place of business.
- Diesel vehicles are no longer allowed to idle for 15 minutes when a vehicle has been stopped for three or more hours unless the ambient air temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Overnight idling of diesel trucks with sleeper berths will not be allowed beyond May 1, 2010.
- The DEP maintains that several alternatives to idling are now available in New Jersey, including electrification bays at truck stops. (This restriction will not apply to vehicles with diesel particulate filters, as explained below.)
Exemptions to the three-minute idling limit which were added or clarified:
- A motor vehicle that has been stopped for three or more hours may idle for up to 15 consecutive minutes when the ambient temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Diesel buses may idle for 15 consecutive minutes in a 60-minute period while actively discharging or picking up passengers to allow for passenger comfort.
- Beginning May 1, 2010, a vehicle equipped with a sleeper berth, which is equipped with a model year 2007 or newer engine, or has been retrofitted with a diesel particulate filter that is connected and properly functioning, will be exempted. This is because the newer model year vehicles run much cleaner than older diesel-powered vehicles. Also, the State is trying to motivate the regulated community to install diesel particulate filters on their older vehicles.
Three-Minute Idling Limit Does NOT Apply to:
- A motor vehicle stopped in traffic.
- A motor vehicle whose primary power source is utilized in whole or in part for necessary and prescribed mechanical operations such as refrigeration units and operation of “cherry pickers” or similar equipment. (This exemption does not apply to propulsion or heating/air conditioning of a passenger compartment.)
- A motor vehicle waiting to be examined by a State or federal motor vehicle inspector.
- An emergency motor vehicle in an emergency situation.
- A motor vehicle while it is being repaired.
- A motor vehicle with a sleeper berth being used in a nonresidential area, unless the vehicle is equipped with an auxiliary power system for cabin comfort or cold weather start-up.
—Recommendations for Business Owners—
- Ensure that diesel-powered vehicles do not idle for more than three consecutive minutes, even if they are making deliveries at your location. It is recommended that you post a sign on your property if trucks frequently idle at your location.
- Ensure that diesel-powered motor vehicles that are not located at the operator’s place of business do not idle except when absolutely necessary. As noted, these vehicles are permitted to idle for a maximum of 15 minutes only if the vehicle engine has been stopped for three or more hours and the ambient air temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Adopt a no-idling policy for your fleet drivers and encourage them to do their part.
- Explore alternatives to idling, such as engine block heaters for cold weather starts, in-cabin heaters or the use of electrified bays when possible. Also, consider installing diesel particulate filters in older vehicles.
—For More Information—
- For questions, call the DEP Bureau of Mobile Sources Team at 609-292-7953.
- “No Idling” signs can be ordered by calling Monica Miranda at 609-292-7953 or by visiting http://www.stopthesoot.org/sts-no-idle-sign.htm.
If you need additional information, please contact Sara Bluhm at 609-393-7707, ext. 9514 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Updated: July 19, 2016
This information should not be construed as constituting specific legal advice. It is intended to provide general information about this subject and general compliance strategies. For specific legal advice, NJBIA strongly recommends members consult with their attorney.