Many towns, cities and states have time limits on vehicle idling. Three minutes seems to be a particularly popular choice. I’m sure the decision makers who legislate a three minute limit on vehicle idling have the best intentions. But if they think their regulations are going to protect children at school, they’re badly misinformed.
If you’ve ever stood outside an elementary school at the end of the school day, you know what bedlam can be! Kids going in all directions, toting backpacks, musical instruments and school projects. Excitement is high, there is plenty of jostling, and occasionally some pushing and shoving. There is laughing, yelling and waving and sometimes even crying.
While all this is going on, the adult bus monitors struggle to keep track of their group of kids and make sure the right kids get on the right bus. It’s not an easy job.
Now, in this scenario, who is going to keep track of exactly how long a particular school bus has been idling its engine? Who will know when the three minutes have expired? If you guessed no one, you’re right!
Which is why time limits for vehicle idling are completely ineffective at protecting children from exposure to diesel exhaust. That’s why a real no-idling policy for all motor vehicles on school property is the only real solution.