NEWARK, NJ - About 40 idling violations were issued to diesel vehicles during a two-day sweep operation last month that involved the state Department of Environmental Protection and Newark police.
Areas that citizen groups identified as potential locations for excessive vehicle idling were targeted on May 20 and 21 during the sweep. Thirty-nine idling violations were handed out to diesel vehicles along with six smoke emissions tickets, according to the DEP.
The DEP's Division of Air Enforcement, Essex Regional Health Commission, the Newark Police Department and the Port Authority's Commercial Vehicle Inspection teams participated in the operation.
Summonses were issued on Doremus Avenue, Blanchard Street, Raymond Boulevard, Wilson Avenue and in Port Newark, according to Newark Police Capt. Anthony Costa. The captain is the commanding officer at the 3rd Precinct, which covers areas in the Ironbound and other industrial sections in the East Ward.
"The 3rd Precinct receives numerous complaints from citizens regarding idling vehicles," said Costa in a statement. "We take these complaints seriously. The partnership we have with the DEP has helped address these complaints and improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors."
Anti-idling signage will be considered for the locations where violations were handed out.
"Idling drags Newark down," said Mayor Ras Baraka. "Not only is it against the law, it adversely affects our most vulnerable populations. I support the DEP's environmental enforcement activity to improve Newark's air quality and reduce our impacts on greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change."
State law limits engine idling to three minutes, but there are exemptions to allow businesses to conduct necessary operations without interference. Fines for excessive idling of commercial vehicles range from $250 for a first offense to $1,000 for the third and subsequent violations.
"New Jersey has had a no-idling law in effect since 1971 and we will continue to enforce it, in order to maintain quality of life and protect public health," said Richelle Wormley, the acting assistant commissioner for DEP’s Compliance and Enforcement. "These types of enforcement sweeps will continue throughout the state."
The DEP said transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in New Jersey, accounting for 42% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation emissions also account for 71% of the state's nitrogen oxides, which contributes to smog.
Fine particle pollution from emissions exacerbates a variety of lung and heart issues, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Excessive vehicle idling is harmful to the air we breathe and is especially concerning in areas of our state that are already overburdened by multiple environmental stressors," said state DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe. "The pollution that results from excessive idling also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, another great risk to New Jerseyans.”