Idling Regulations and Standards for CDL Truckers

On November 12, 2018, the President of the United States Donald Trump and his administration announced the creation of the CLEANER TRUCKS INITIATIVE (CTI) to decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from on-highway semi-trucks and engines. NOx is a pollutant that can create both ozone, which contributes to climate change, and particulate matter, which can negatively impact both health and the environment.

NOx emissions have dropped 52% since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted new standards in 2001. But increasing truck traffic is expected to account for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector by 2025.

While the initiative will impose new standards for emissions, it is expected to balance that by easing some other regulations, such as changing annual testing requirements, allowing alternative technologies for compliance, and changing testing for emissions controls.

The new regulations are not expected to be finalized until the end of 2020. Bill Sullivan, head of advocacy for the American Trucking Association (ATA) said he supports the new initiative, saying “It is good business to produce and to own and to drive cleaner, more efficient trucks.”

What Are the Current Idling Regulations CDL Drivers Should Know About?

In 2016, the EPA set new emissions standards aimed at cutting pollution caused by big trucks idling and using diesel-fueled auxiliary power units (APUs) to regulate the temperature in the cab and run TVs and appliances while parked for required rest periods.

While there are no federal limits on idling time, emissions laws have been enacted by a growing number of States and Municipalities. Long-haul truckers, particularly interstate drivers, need to be aware of these laws.

Here in Texas, there is no state law governing idling time, but numerous cities and counties have enacted their own. The idling time allowed is five minutes (with exemptions), and fines vary by jurisdiction. You can find a complete list of States, Cities and other jurisdictions on this website.

How to Manage Weather Conditions and Idling Your Heavy Truck

With the Polar Vortex pushing freezing winter temperatures into the Deep South, and record-breaking heat scorching the Midwest and northern states, truckers need ways to cope with these weather extremes during rest and sleep breaks. Some have installed APUs to provide power for temperature control, appliances, and electronics while the engine is not running, but even these will be subject to new emissions regulations.

Companies such as IdleAir and ShorePower Technologies have installed power systems in some truck stops but those parking spaces are limited and there is a charge to use them. IdleAir air dock units fit in the truck window and provide temperature control, TV, electrical outlets, and internet access.

There are seven truck stops in Texas that are equipped with IdleAir Units: Robinson, Baytown, Dallas, Laredo, and El Paso. For details and a complete U.S. list, check out this website for more information.

ShorePower Technologies provides transportation electrification equipment for truck stops. Truckers need only a long, heavy-duty extension cord to plug into the Shorepower pedestal. Usage is charged by the hour using a credit card at the kiosk.  For a list of truck stops equipped with ShorePower pedestals, visit their website.

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