OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 792

AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IDLING OF MOTOR VEHICLES.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits anyone from causing or allowing a car, truck, or motor bus to idle for more than three consecutive minutes, except in certain instances. It does not apply to a vehicle designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations, and which is not operated on a highway to carry a payload or for any other commercial purpose.

A violation of the bill is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $ 25. The bill specifically authorizes Superior Court judges to impose fines of less than $ 35 on people who violate the bill.

Existing law prohibits a school bus operator from idling a school bus for more than three consecutive minutes. State regulations prohibit “mobile sources,” including cars, buses, trucks, and tractors from idling more than three minutes except in certain instances, but do not impose a specific penalty (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

EXCEPTIONS TO THE IDLING BAN

A car, truck, or motor bus may idle for more than three consecutive minutes only when:

1. it is forced to remain motionless because of traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the operator has no control;

2. it is necessary to operate defrosting, heating, or cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of the driver, passengers, or cargo;

3. it is necessary to operate auxiliary equipment located in or on the vehicle to accomplish its intended use;

4. it is necessary to bring the vehicle to the manufacturer's recommended operating temperature;

5. the outdoor temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit;

6. maintenance or inspection requires the vehicle to be operated for more than three consecutive minutes;

7. it is waiting in line to (a) weigh, load, or unload freight or (b) gain access to a U. S. military installation or a drive-in establishment;

8. a law enforcement, firefighting, rescue, or emergency vehicle is responding to an emergency;

9. a motor vehicle in livery service is waiting to discharge passengers in a wedding or funeral; or

10. a motor vehicle is delivering food from a restaurant.

BACKGROUND

Motor Buses

A motor bus is any motor vehicle, except a taxicab, operated in whole or in part on any street or highway offering a means of transportation by (1) indiscriminately receiving or discharging passengers, (2) running on a regular route or over any portion of a regular route, or (3) between fixed termini (CGS 14-1 (47)).

Infractions

Infractions are punishable by fines, usually set by Superior Court judges, of between $ 35 and $ 90, plus a $ 20 or $ 35 surcharge and an additional fee based on the amount of the fine. There may be other added charges depending on the type of infraction.

School Bus Idling

Existing law prohibits a school bus operator from idling a school bus for more than three consecutive minutes, except in certain situations (CGS 14-277(b)). A first violation is considered an infraction; subsequent offenses are punishable by fines of between $ 100 and $ 500.

State Regulations on Motor Vehicle Idling

State regulations prohibit “mobile sources,” which includes cars, buses, trucks, and tractors, from idling for more than three minutes except in certain instances. Since there is no specific penalty for this violation, the Department of Environmental Protection must use its general enforcement powers, which call for a fine of up to $ 25,000 a day (or up to one year in jail) for first-time offenders. However, the penalty cannot be imposed unless the offender violates the law knowingly or with criminal negligence.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference

Yea

24

Nay

3

(03/06/2009)

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

31

Nay

5

(03/16/2009)