RMV Sets Idle Times for Cleaner Air on Campus
New Law Cuts Vehicle Exhaust Exposure
(Boston, MA) - The Registry of Motor Vehicles has enacted regulations that ban motor vehicles from unnecessary idling on school grounds across the Commonwealth as part of the so-called idle free law which went into effect August 21, 2009. The new law requires school districts to post signs that advise parents, students, teachers, bus drivers and visitors of the ban against leaving a motor vehicle engine idling on any private or public pre-school, elementary, vocational or secondary school property.
"We know that an idling engine releases twice as much exhaust as a moving vehicle," said Registrar Rachel Kaprielian. "Turning off your vehicle engine may save a child from the harmful exposure of engine exhaust."
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of exhaust because their lungs are not fully developed and they breathe twice as much air as adults.
"The American Lung Association was a strong advocate for these regulations," said Brian Simonds, Chairman of the Massachusetts leadership board of ALA. "Not only do we urge parents and school personnel to obey the law on school grounds, but we hope they practice idle-free behavior everywhere. We know that healthy air means healthy lungs."
In Massachusetts nine thousand school busses transport nearly 750,000 children to and from school daily. The new law is expected to have a significant impact on lung health in Massachusetts. Approximately 11 percent of Massachusetts children suffer from asthma compared to the national average of eight percent.
Registrar Kaprielian said there are additional benefits to the new law. "It will help reduce air pollution and health care costs as well as save school districts and motorists fuel, money and wear and tear on busses and vehicles."
Law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing the new law which is punishable by a $100 fine for a first violation and $500 fine for a second or subsequent violation.