Idling Limits the 'Rodney Dangerfield' of Laws

An engine-idling law enacted by Salt Lake City and a similar edict on Utah

A delivery of drinks is wheeled along Morris Ave. in the Bronx borough of New York as the American Flag waves in the breeze at P.S. 18 at the corner of 148th St. and Morris Ave. Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. In a city where schools are sandwiched between grocery stores, apartment buildings, restaurants and laundromats, it isn't hard to imagine fumes from idling traffic seeping into classrooms and bothering children. A new law seeks to cut that pollution by giving vehicles just 60 seconds to idle in a school zone. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

An engine-idling law enacted by Salt Lake City and a similar edict on Utah's state government fleet vehicles are the latest idling restrictions to take effect around the country.

Yet environmental groups say idling limits are the Rodney Dangerfield of state and local laws -- they don't get much respect.

The American Transportation Research Institute reports that 20 states, 50 cities or towns and 33 counties across the country limit engine idling with fines and even jail terms.

However, officials acknowledge enforcement is spotty to non-existent as they emphasize public education over ticketing.

A Salt Lake City ordinance that went into effect in late April limits "unnecessary" idling to two minutes. A month later, Gov. Gary Herbert limited idling in the state's fleet of 7,300 vehicles to 30 seconds.

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