Lori Goldner: Be mindful of vehicle idling

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Alexei/via Pixabay

Alexei/via Pixabay Alexei/via Pixabay

Published: 02-03-2024 10:55 AM

As the winter gets colder, the Amherst Energy and Climate Action Committee would like to encourage all drivers to remain mindful of their vehicle idling habits. While protection from the cold is important, idling a car for longer than five minutes is illegal under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, section 16A. Furthermore, MGL ch. 90, section 16B and Massachusetts regulation 540 CMR establishes stricter limits on school grounds: idling a private vehicle on school grounds is impermissible except when the temperature is under 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and then only for a maximum of one minute in any 15-minute period.

Not only is idling illegal, but burning fossil fuels through idling contributes to the increase in air pollution we typically see in our area during the winter. This air pollution is especially important to minimize on school grounds, where children’s developing lungs benefit from cleaner air. Vehicle idling also diminishes our progress towards the climate goals laid out by the commonwealth, as well as many of our local towns, since it releases harmful emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. We encourage everyone to dress warmly, plan ahead, and turn off your engines for a safe and healthy winter for all.

Lori Goldner, chairperson

Amherst Energy and Climate Action Committee

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