Anti-idling legislation passes Illinois House, Senate

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Illinois legislation that would restrict the idling of diesel engines has passed both the House and Senate. HB 4782, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Planes) and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), would prohibit vehicles more than 8,000 pounds with diesel engines from idling for more than 10 minutes in the Chicagoland area and in the St. Louis Metro-East Region.

Areas affected by HB 4782 in the Chicago area include Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties, as well as Aux Sable and Goose Lake Townships in Grundy County and Oswego Township in Kendall County. The affected areas in the East St. Louis area include Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties.

The bill was watered down several times this session, according to the Mid-West Truckers Association. The latest version of the bill allows idling in affected areas when the outdoor air temperature is below 32 degrees or above 80 degrees. Other exemptions include operating heaters or air conditioning to prevent a safety or health emergency and if a truck has a sleeper berth that is being used for sleeping or resting. The bill also allows operators to idle up to 30 minutes while waiting in line to weigh, load or unload; and it allows idling if the vehicle is periodically moving forward while waiting in line.

If convicted, a violator could be fined $50 for a first offense and $150 for a second or subsequent offense within any 12-month period. HB 4782 now moves on to the office of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, where it is expected to be signed into law.