Anti-Idling Laws: Aren’t Truckers Human, Too?


    As I sat down to write this article today,  I had asked a few drivers for their opinion on an article about this subject.  To say I was startled by the magnitude of their passion is an understatement.  This has truckers more “fired up”  (no pun intended)  than anything I’ve yet seen in the trucking industry to date.


    The proliferation of anti-idling laws is highly discombobulating to truckers all across the land.  The main problem with these laws are the fact that they do NOT encourage trucking companies to install alternative forms of heating/cooling the truck but rather punish the truck driver for being human.  Truckers are human beings which do require what all other humans require such as heating and cooling.

    Truckers that do not get a good night’s sleep are     obviously much more likely to injure or kill another motorist.  Just how do these “geniuses” making these idiotic laws expect a trucker to sleep when it’s 32 degrees or when it’s 80 degrees?  Ask yourself, “could I do it?”  I sit here an wonder… would the person writing the ticket,  writing the law or the judge enforcing this law turn off his/her heater or air

    conditioner at his house?  I think we know the answer to that question, eh?  Of course not!  It is hypocrisy at the highest levels.

    Trucker regulations state that a driver must have an “un-interrupted” sleep period but at the same time some of these asinine anti-idling laws require the driver to get up every hour or so to fire up his/her truck to regulate the temp.  What about you,  would you like to be forced to rise every hour on the hour at your house to moderate your living conditions?  What a great night of sleep you could get, eh?

    Now we all must be ready to ask ourselves, “did that trucker driving past me now just try to sleep in 80 degrees & just how rested is he?”  To say the very least,  I doubt he’s in a good mood!

    Most drivers reading this will be most disturbed in learning that these laws are NOT just popping up in the east coast but are rearing their ugly head all over the U.S.  We all can empathize with a driver who gets a $25,000 ticket for trying to stay warm in Connecticut in 10 degree temps.  Please read the chart below for a better understanding of these laws as we know them today.  I have added my comments to some of them to point out the absurdity…


    The Trucker’s Report
    is reviewing it’s options as it pertains to these laws.  If you are a trucker who has received one of these tickets in ANY state you may send us a copy of the ticket for our review and it MAY be possible to start a few class action lawsuits against these states.  IF you do send us a copy you MUST be willing to participate in a possible class action or do NOT waste your time sending it.  PLEASE remember to black out ANY sensitive information such as your social security number before you send to us!  We are NOT responsible for this information if you send it.  It will be kept private and confidential.  You may copy the ticket or other forms and send them to:
    UPDATE… I was recently contacted by the EPA.  They are asking for our help on this issue,  LEARN MORE

    My REPLY To The EPA

    Join OOIDA and help those who help you fight for your rights!!

    Drivers,  to all of you who complain and yet refuse to put your money where your mouth is you deserve this treatment.  These people rely on you doing just what you are doing now… NOTHING.  Do NOT send me complaints about this system unless you put your money where your mouth is and at least try to do something about it.   You have kept the smiles on those faces screwing you by your own indifference.

    ANTI-IDLING LAWS AND PENALTIES

    IDLING LIMITS PENALTIES
    1 Arizona (Maricopa County) 5 minutes; 60-90 minutes when hotter than 75 degrees Dear Genius:
    Tis mighty nice of you to allow us 90 minutes to be human at least!
    First violation, $100; second and subsequent violation, $200
    2 Atlanta 15 minutes Dear Genius:
    15 Min. in the city that gets so hot it could melt the paint off your truck?  So kind!
    $500 minimum
    3 California 5 minutes Dear Genius:
    What about when it’s 125 deg in Barstow?  Use your brains,  goofy!
    $100 minimum
    4 Connecticut 3 minutes Dear Genius:
    Wow!  I guess you jokers will be selling a new product this winter,  icicle trucker pops?
    Up to $25,000 (FLAT IDIOTIC)
    5 Denver 10 minutes per hour Dear Genius:
    It takes 10 min JUST to warm a truck up,  you rocket scientist!  A year in prison?  Well I guess we’d stay warm then & even have cable!
    $999 maximum and/or one year imprisonment
    6 Hawaii 3 minutes Dear Genius:
    Asinine!
    $25 to $2,500 per day
    7 Illinois Driver must be present if idling Dear Genius:
    How will you know we are in the truck?  Knock on the door and wake us up?  What a great way to develop a good sleep pattern.  Watch out,  grandma…
    $500 maximum
    8 Las Vegas/Clark County 15 minutes Dear Genius:
    So much for spending money in your casinos.  You could sell us as roasted turkeys for dinner though!
    $10,000 maximum (gives new meaning to the word “gamble”)
    9 Maryland 5 minutes Dear Genius:
    Can we say DUH?
    $500 maximum
    10 Massachusetts 5 minutes Dear Genius:
    Well,  this is from a state who has elected a Ted Kenedy to the Senate for many years so what can we expect?
    Police: first violation, $100; second and subsequent violation, $500. State DEP: $1,000 to $25,000 per day
    11 Minnesota (City of Owatonna) 15 minutes; five hours in residential areas Dear Genius:
    Brrrrrrrrr
    $1,000 maximum and/or 90 days imprisonment
    12 Minnesota (City of St. Cloud) 5 minutes on West St. Germain Street from 8th to 10th avenues Dear Genius:
    Phew,  just go down the block a bit,  drivers.
    $200 maximum
    13 Nevada 15 minutes

    Dear Genius:
    A new way for truckers to gamble has arrived!

    First violation, $100 to $500; second violation, $500 to $1,000; third violation, $1,000 to $1,500; fourth violation within three years, $1,500 to $2,500
    14 New Hampshire 5 minutes if over 32 degrees; 15 minutes if below 32 degrees Dear Genius:
    Throw that “live free or die” crap out the window…
    To be determined
    15 New Jersey 3 minutes Dear Genius:
    Good,  I get to take a loan out for their turnpike AND just add a wee bit more to the pot.
    First violation, $200; second violation, $400; third violation, $1,000; fourth violation, $3,000
    16 New York State 5 minutes Dear Genius:
    I guess that FOOT of snow will insulate of a little…
    First violation, $375 to $15,000; second and subsequent violations, $22,500 maximum
    17 New York City 3 minutes

    Dear Genius:
    Just hope it starts back up when having to run from a mugger…

    First violation, $50 to $500 and/or 20 days imprisonment; second violation, $100 to $1,000 and/or 30 days imprisonment; third and subsequent violations, $400 to $5,000 and/or four months imprisonment
    18 Philadelphia 2 minutes Dear Genius:
    Not much brotherly love here…
    $300
    19 Reno/Washoe County 15 minutes Dear Genius:
    Let the game begin…
    First violation, $250 maximum; second and subsequent violations, $200 to $500
    20 Salt Lake City/County 15 minutes

    Dear Genius:
    Mormons are breathing freer.  Oh yeah and don’t use your Jake brake to save your life either!

    First violation, $1,000 and/or six months imprisonment maximum; second and subsequent violations, $2,500 and one year imprisonment
    21 St. Louis 10 minutes Dear Genius:
    The gateway from humanity to inhumanity…
    Up to $500 and/or 90 days imprisonment
    22 Texas (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties) 5 minutes, April to October Dear Genius:
    Well there,  cowboys & cowgirls let’s have a shit-kicking good time!
    To be determined
    23 Utah Driver must be present if idling Dear Genius:
    How do you propose to know we are in the truck?  Will you make us a sign to put in our windows?  Hitler would be proud!
    $750 and/or 90 days imprisonment
    24 Virginia 10 minutes in commercial and residential areas Dear Genius:
    George Washington should be tossing over about now.  Aspire to the heavens didn’t mean exhaust fumes,  I guess.
    $25,000 maximum
    25 Washington D.C. 3 minutes; 5 minutes if below 32 degrees Dear Genius:
    The new Rome.  Caesar could only DREAM of such ABSOLUTE power over his brethren.  Reality be damned.

    Chart Source: Overdrive Magazine
    Dear Genius Comments Were Added By The Trucker’s Report

    $500; doubles for each subsequent violation



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    { 29 comments… read them below or add one }

    dave April 1, 2010 at 5:36 am

    I got a $350 ticket in NY last month!! after 2 lawyers saying I may as well pay it I called my friend who does divorce law and he checked into it and told me to get my company to pay it!! I hit them up and they agreed to pay it because the idle timers are set for 5-15 min from freight liner and the law is 3 min which the company has not changed so technically its the company that was breaking the law not me!! so if you are a company driver and can’t get a lawyer to fight one of these don’t just pay it hassle your company!! who knows maybe after they get enough tickets some ones going to get pissed and do something about it!!

    Reply

    jas June 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    does anyone know how strictly these laws are enforced? sometimes theres a bit of leeway with new legislation while common sense issues get sorted out (heres hoping!)

    what are the alternatives – on board generators?

    Reply

    jim September 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Never got a ticket. Yet. Was asked by a new jersey to shut it off or follow him to a spot down the street were i could. Idle and they would leave me alone. Nice. Cop

    Reply

    nate June 1, 2012 at 9:33 am

    @jas in quartzite AZ this year there was a police officer who was driving through the truckstops there taking down truck numbers and license plates he’d wait 45 minutes, come back and whoever was still idling he issue a ticket. So at least in Arizona they enforce it! And yes the alternative is installing an APU on these tricks. But we all know how cheap companies can be. If you want your company to start putting APUs on your trucks just get several hospitalizable heat strokes chances are they’ll put an APU on at least your truck. My buddy works for Gordon as a day can driver, and he reports that Gordon puts APUs on all their OTR trucks. For owner/ops spending 10500$ OS a smart investment especially if you run through the south half of the 48. But not every owner/op has 10-11k saved for an APU let alone can afford to put one on or finance an APU. Not all companies will pay for your tickets unless its something pertaining to their upkeep of the vehicle. Like idling for instance. If you want to get something done, write your state legislature and law makers and see about getting an APU law enacted. Im an Arizona native. I can handle the cold, but the heat, not when its 90 degrees at the coldest part of the night. And you HAVE to idle to get sleep. A lit of these trucks have bunk heaters so there is no action required bit making sure they work. The webasto diesel bunk heaters work awesome, the new 2012 Pete and freightliners inductance bunk heaters, same principal as a toaster, consume wayyyyyyy to much electricity to run all night and you usually get up every hour to idle and charge your batteries. When I go owner op and i have to pay for my own fuel, I’m saving 11k and installing an APU. No questions about it, i live in AZ and deliver a lot more in CA AZ CO OR NM TX ID, now Oregon and Idaho are not generally hot states but when its a perfect 72 degrees outside it hits even hotter in your truck even with breezeways in. 60 degrees is about the area where you don’t have to do anything, no idling no bunk heat no Ac, you just chill, or so ive noticed, I work for may trucking in case you wanted to know

    Reply

    Brett November 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Have a little Espar heater in my sleeper, uses much less fuel than idling – the only problem so far is that the thermostat is near the wall so it believes the truck is cooler than it actually is, but once I turned it down enough the true temperature in the sleeper is just fine, at the push of a button! Off the top of my head it appears the cost of running this little heater is about 30 cents an hour compared to $3.00 an hour to have the truck idling so a company that thinks it’s not worth the cost of installation is pretty short-sighted.

    Reply

    Christine November 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Just for argument’s sake… how long is that Highway Patrol car allowed to idle when sitting on the side of the highway looking for their next victim (I mean violation)!

    Reply

    Colt December 8, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I am going to beat the system by buying a one man tent, and place it on my mattress and buy a direct 12, 24 ect..battery hook up or mabye a cigerette lighter one and put in my tent. Think it would work?

    Reply

    art December 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    How about just getting a room for a good nights sleep and sending the bill to your trucking company and make them pay for it. Contacting politicians is hit or miss but can’t hurt if enough voices get through. I personally would refuse to haul any freight if I am treated like a zoo animal instead of a human being. If enough truckers take a stand something will have to be done.

    Reply

    Vickie Rockwell November 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    If u have an animal the laws says u can idle

    Reply

    Dw March 20, 2013 at 4:23 am

    If they have a lic plate take that number and send fine to the registered owners and make the fines much larger , that will get the APU installed. Any company that gets a 10k fine for 1 truck or 50k fine for 5 trucks will install the systems. And add on to it that the fine will go away with proof of install.

    Reply

    Jon May 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I heard that in NY, Police were writing tickets for APU engines idling too.
    A NY- Bear once wrote a ticket in 1998 for my ’81′ Rabbit diesel making Too much black smoke while my Nephew was climbing a hill.

    Reply

    andrea July 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Our biggest problem is that truckers cannot get together a couple of serious strikes would wake them up…!

    Reply

    Guldukkat Gul July 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    The system is as crooked as being hipocret after big corporations pollute and make millions now they worried about our enviorement so pretty much they destroy nature for big bucks now they enforce epa regulations on us poor hard working class and make big bucks again I payed fines for idling nonsense dot rules that dont make sense I put food at my table anyway I can and when I part this word let my last words to my family tha I love them and to the politicians and other agencies ect kiss my ass

    Reply

    Ronald R. Brett August 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

    This should concern everyone. We now get 10 hr sleeper so we might sleep 8 hours. Customers and DOT say don’t idle truck. It’s 95 shreds outside truck and 125 degrees inside. Does a trucker have to die of heat stroke or kill someone due to heat exhaustion before this law is changed?

    Reply

    Paul September 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I own a trucking company, but one thing that gets me is the sitting time at shippers and delivery locations. Did you know nearly 50 percent of my loads force me to sit and idle for 3 to 8 hours? That is a lot of carbon and a lot of wasted diesel, and I do not haul refrigerated trailers either because they sit two to three more hours, and they have an extra tank and reefer units wasting and polluting. This is not the trucker/carrier’s fault… it is the companies that are loading and unloading. They grossly under staff their warehouses and other locations. As I am typing this, I am sitting and it has been over six hours, and yesterday I sat for 10 to be loaded. I would think organizations like yours would lean on the EPA and the DOT to regulate this. It is extremely wasteful, and this is also a safety issue. As the Hours of Service are decreased more and more for Drivers, and they are forced to use almost all their on-duty time sitting, that is why they cheat their logs to make their delivery(s) on time… otherwise they will not make that 2500.00 monthly truck note and the 1000.00 monthly insurance note. This is why they can barely afford new tires, they are forced to choose between sleep and money. Please understand, I am not referring to the large companies like Swift, JB Hunt, etc…, they have tens of thousands of trucks and trailers, and they do a lot of drop and hook, but the large companies only account for 26 percent of the market, so if you ask them… it is not a problem, but that only covers 26 percent. What about the other 74 percent of medium, small, and one truck trucking companies? That is the other 74 percent. You cannot ask the ATA about this, because small companies like mine have nothing to do with the ATA. A simple fix would be to simply have a federal 2 hours load/unload limit or face a carbon/clean air fine. I know a lot of the shippers will say they do not allow idling, that is not the problem, do you want to sit in your car with the AC or Heater off for 6 to 10 hours ? Dogs cannot be treated as such, but truckers are, and some have died as a result of heat stroke due to some places taking their keys for their no Idling policy, and were sued so now many have layed off the no idle policy. A simply 2 hour load/unload regulation will fix it, and the bi-product is each truck will now have the time to run safely and sleep, and millions of gallons of diesel will be saved as will our air. Lastly, think of the tens of thousands of jobs that will be created now that hundreds of thousands of shippers, warehouses, and delivery points now have to hire more staff to get these truck loaded/unloaded and gone!

    Paul Todd
    PT Logistics
    706=513=1053

    Reply

    Ginger Buchser February 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Paul, this is a powerful message, can we talk

    Reply

    mark October 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I just called the local d troop in ny, I got transfered around a few times. It seems some these individuals don’t even know what the law states about non-idling law. The only ones that know are dot officers that deal with commercial trucks.

    Reply

    Jerry November 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Yes, truckers are human too, but you are completely missing the point! Your beef is with your owner or with your working conditions, not with the proliferation of anti-idling laws or law enforcement! Anti-idling laws are absolutely appropriate and necessary. In fact, enactment and enforcement of anti-idling laws is long overdue, as the science on the harmful affects of idling is abundantly clear. Idling affects our lungs, our hearts and our environment–not to mention the person sitting in the cab or car! Anti-idling laws attempt to protect everyone’s health and our environment. In New York City, for example, you are not allowed to idle for more than three minutes. Sooner or later, these restrictions will be much more strictly enforced. There is no god-given or constitutional right to idle; study after study shows that idling is deeply harmful.

    Reply

    Vickie Rockwell November 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Its just not the “LAWS”, its the companies too! As I sit, its cold. So cold in my truck that my toes are froze. My company has programmed the idle on THEIR company truck so I can’t keep warm. There is a small vent towards the floor called bunk heater. Unless I sit on the floor infront of it, I get cold. It only uses heat.

    Reply

    Louise Ehrich November 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Illegal to leave a dog in shot car, but not a driver?

    Reply

    GP November 22, 2013 at 2:21 am

    (I’m in the UK so i can’t really comment on the law changes discussed here, that said…)

    I sympathise with the truckers. I really do. Trying to sleep while too cold, or too hot, is no fun at all, i dimly remember family holidays with a dad who believed charging the leisure battery in the motorhome used extra fuel. No heating for us, pure misery in winter.

    I’ve slept in a sleeper cab a couple of times too (long story) and climate control is a nightmare.

    However, right now there is a truck idling outside my house, he ran the engine until 3:30 am. At 6:30 am he started it back up. I’m about ready to go beat the engine with my rolling pin.

    *sigh*

    No-win situation.

    Reply

    Chuck January 23, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Better still, let’s solve a multitude of issues globally! We can all park our rigs at comfortable locations for us, and all of the unemployed welfare sucking turds can meet us there and hand carry the goods to their delivery locations. ~Poof~ ozone is cured, everyone is employed, welfare vanishes, and I will finally have time to hunt down that elusive unicorn that keeps goring my dog when I am on the road. Next Up? Replacing the personal vehice with rickshaw operators, and shovels with 3 inch plastic spoons…solving transportation and construction conumdrums.

    Reply

    Jeff March 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Winter time I refuse all loads north of I-10.

    Don’t forget, CA even puts restrictions on your APU depending on where you’re parked. Guess I could go solar on the trailer roof, but that means no runs up north. Ho hum, yankees.

    Reply

    John April 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I think the best way to convince a company to install cpu’s on all of their trucks is to convince the states to revoke or refuse to renew any company permits until all trucks that may enter the state from said company has a cpu installed. Kill two birds with one stone. Either the company installs the cpu or you never have to worry about trying to get any sleep in a liberal state. I cant speak for those counties in Texas but the rest of the state isnt so so stupid.

    Reply

    Clyde June 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Would it be better if a local government required the new truck stops to include electrification for each truck parking space? That way any truck pulling in would be able to shut-down.

    Reply

    Neil June 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I work for a small company and we were renting Ryder sleeper cabs and we were lucky if I could even keep them running long enough much less keep temperatures. Luckly we just got a news truck and I convinced the owner to get a GREEN APU. It is a great unit and cost 8,500 dollars installed. Worth every penny. All these anti idle laws are criminal. Let me put it this way. Us trucks can’t idle but you can be sweating or freezing in your truck and have a 4 wheeler right next to you idling all night long. If you start your truck you get the ticket and nothing for the 4 wheeler. If they make laws concerning idling include all vehicles and see if it passes.
    Another point, what do you think the ratio of trucks verses cars are on the road. I am pretty sure there are 10 times or more cars than there are trucks out there. Which really will have higher emisions out there, even with trucks idling to get some uninterupted sleep. technically if I don’t get uninterupted sleep I am not supposed to even start my truck. WILL THESE PEOPLE THINK!!!!! This is all common sense. I agree take a week and stop all trucks nation wide. Then we would see how the policy changes.

    Reply

    smokey July 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Fact is there is NO legal right for idling. With that said and out of the way, the very real problem of idling must be addressed by America’s truckers and owners. And the Only Way To Address This Problem Is A Series Of Planned Trucker Shutdowns—————A Trucker Planned And Total Progressive Shut Downs To Get The Nations Leadership Attention, is necessary, To Resolve The IDLING ISSUSE: ie, sleep times, loading times, explaining laws between dogs-kids and truckers in vehicles, standardization or elimination of idling fines and etc.
    The Trucker Planned And Progresss Total Shut Downs canbe most effective if the event were announced 14 days in advance. The Trucker IDLING CONCERNS( these concerns would be be provided to each of the following offices the day before the announment is made) would be given to STATE GOV’s, STATE and FEDERAL DOT’s and the U.S. CONGRESS ( i would expect no action at this time). On day 15 a one (1) day total national shutdown would happen. 3 days later a two (2) day total national shutdown would happen. 3 days later a three (3) day total natioal shutdown would happen. 3 days later a four (4) day . 3 days later a five (5) day . 3 days later a six (6) day and so on. CONGRESS shut the D.O.D. and other areas of the U.S. GOV down over funding issuses while in- fighting amoung themselves so let us see what they can do for a real—real time event !!!

    Reply

    get real July 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I agree with smokey. ….I’m not a person that would do harm to this county’s economy. ..but it’s time to put a stop to the state authorities. …as a company driver, I’m harassed by the strick laws we as drivers have to obey and company owners the will not spend on a dime a APU UNIT . D.o.t and state authorities come up with such high fines…and still the want their bread, milk, fuels, car in the dealership, and frankly everything is brought by trucks. ..without trucks America stops….. the last you want here to hear on the news is another accident. Driver crash from fatigue! Because he did not have enough rest.

    Reply

    ken July 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I’ve gone through two compressors & a fuel pump on this APU it’s a piece of crap, the truck has a 5-minute shut down on it so it’s a piece of crap too. 2 days ago I was sitting in a truck stop in New York, upstate NY. and an officer knocked on my window and asked for my drivers license and medical card and said he was going to give me a ticket for idling I told him that my truck has a 5 minutes shut down & my APU was not working. Right then my truck shut down, he gave me my license in medical card back & said have a good day! After he walked away to the next truck I started my truck again so I could get some cool air in here when it’s 80 outside it’s 120 in this truck, “You wouldn’t leave your kids in a car when its hot outside” Don’t leave your little trucker in the car (Heat) either!!

    Reply

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