IDLE THOUGHTS – Hull DPW workers this week posted signs in high-traffic areas around town to remind residents of the state’s anti-idling laws. This one is in front of Nantasket Pharmacy.
[Photo use courtesy of Nancy Kramer]
The Hull Department of Public Works began placing anti-idling signs at selected locations throughout town to inform the public that there is a state law prohibiting unnecessary idling of vehicles for more than five minutes.
Fifteen signs, paid for by a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection, are scheduled to be posted at the high school, Pemberton Pier/commuter boat area, library, Jacobs School, middle school, Tedeschi’s at A Street, Kenberma area [Nantasket Pharmacy and between Weinberg’s Bakery, Post Office, and Riddle’s], Dunkin’ Donuts, town hall, police station, Marylou’s Coffee, DPW, Pizza Box, and the recycling center.
Massachusetts state law (M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 16A) and DEP regulation (310 CMR 7.11) limit vehicle idling to no more than five minutes in most cases. The law and regulation apply to all motor vehicles. A vehicle may idle longer only if absolutely necessary. The law includes exceptions for vehicles being serviced and those making deliveries that need to keep their engines running (such as refrigerated trucks), and vehicles that need to run their engines to operate accessories such as power lifts. “Penalties can range from $100 (MGL Chapter 90, Section 16A) or more ... Drivers and/or companies can be held responsible for paying the fine; Local police have the authority to enforce the law, as do health officials or other officials who hold enforcement authority.”
The police cannot respond to every complaint about idling vehicles, but many of the complaints about excessive idling are about the same vehicles in the same locations routinely left idling, many times out of habit. For people living or working near those vehicles, the exhaust is not just a nuisance, it’s a serious health problem. And the unnecessary pollutants contribute to the cause of climate change we are witnessing.
A few examples of unnecessary vehicle idling are: sitting in your vehicle [or leaving your vehicle] with the engine running, using a remote starter and leaving the vehicle running unattended to let the heater warm it or the air conditioner cool it for more than five minutes, or using the car’s engine to charge a cell phone or other device.
Thank you to the DPW for posting the signs, the selectmen for allowing Laurie Hibbard of Greener Hull and I to explain the Idle Reduction Law and campaign at a televised selectmen's meeting on Feb. 24, and the town manager for scheduling a planning meeting last December to select the idle-reduction sites.
More information will be available at Hull businesses, the library, town hall [the regulation is posted on the bulletin board] and other locations in town. Idle reduction information has been available at the annual Earth Day Sustainable Living Festivals since 2005 and will be available at this year’s festival on April 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mary Jeanette Murray Bathhouse. Information is also available on the Sustainable Transportation Committee link on the town’s website, www.town.hull.ma.us.
– Nancy Kramer of the Sustainable Transportation Committee,
Sustainable South Shore and Greener Hull