SACRAMENTO: Air Resources Board staff hit the road this week to begin enforcing recently enacted anti-idling program for diesel engines that will reduce particulate matter emissions throughout the state.
ARB staff and local air quality officials throughout the state will enforce the idling regulations by monitoring sleeper berths and commercial on and off-road diesel vehicles where they operate. First time violations, idling for greater than five minutes, will receive a minimum civil penalty of $300. Subsequent penalties can be from $1,000 to $10,000. Owners, renters or lessees will be responsible for the penalty.
"Turning these engines off should be second nature," said ARB chairman, Mary Nichols. "It saves money, reduces pollution and protects the health of the driver and everyone working or living around the engines."
Regulations limiting idling of on-road commercial diesel-engine vehicles to five minutes have been in effect for several years now and for sleeper berth trucks since January of 2008. The regulations addressing the idling of off-road diesel vehicles became effective in June of 2008. Industries were given a grace period allowing them to inform themselves and their staff of the new requirements.
In a case where an off-road vehicle is observed idling for more than five minutes, enforcement officials will contact the operator and site supervisor to determine the reason. If the reason is not exempted, as some clauses of the regulation allow, and the instance is a first time violation, a $300 per day citation will be issued to the owner, renter or lessee of the vehicle.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems.
Each year, based on California emissions in 2000, diesel particulate matter contributes to 2000 premature deaths, thousands of hospital admissions, asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms and lost workdays. Diesel engine emissions are responsible for the majority of California's known airborne cancer risks, cause visibility reduction and potentially contribute to global warming.
This fall the ARB will consider further measures to reduce emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks. Over the past 10 years ARB has adopted regulations affecting cargo-handling equipment, transport refrigeration units, truck idling, off-road equipment, harbor craft, port drayage trucks, onboard incineration, and ships at-berth. ARB's cleaner fuel requirements for on-road diesel trucks, railroad and ship engines have reduced pollution around rail yards and ports.
For more information on ARB's efforts to address diesel emissions go here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/diesel.htm .
The public can report an idling violation by contacting the Air Resources Board at 1-800-END-SMOG (1-800-363-7664) or online at http://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/complaints/complaints.htm .
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.