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  • Two county programs aim to reduce vehicle idling

    Dec 22, 2022 | Read More News
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    cars idling 
    Exhaust from idling vehicles has been found to harm schoolchildren and employees
    who work at businesses with drive-through lanes. 
    We’ve all done it. You’re waiting in the drive-through for a meal or for the kids to come scurrying out of school and you leave your car running … and running … and running.

    Those idling vehicles waste millions of gallons of gasoline per year in the United States. They also result in zero miles per gallon; wasted money on high-priced fuel; additional wear and tear on your vehicle; and unnecessary air pollution and climate change emissions into our environment. 

    Those who work or play near idling vehicles, such as students waiting to be picked up from school or the barista serving you coffee at the drive-through, ultimately breath in the most toxic air pollution.

    Air monitoring at schools has shown significantly elevated levels of toxins due to parents idling their cars while waiting to pick up their kids. Public health research also links vehicle exhaust fumes to increases in childhood asthma; allergies; heart and lung disease; and cancer. Children’s developing lungs are especially at risk for injury because they inhale more air per pound of body weight.

    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality offers two programs designed to educate the public to stop vehicle idling nearno idling signs schools and businesses. 

    Idle-free schools

    The purpose of the Idle-Free Schools Program is to establish idle-free pick-up zones to reduce student exposure to toxic air pollution emitted by idling vehicles. PDEQ is committed to supporting schools in implementing their idle-free efforts by providing participating schools with:

    • Signs that can be placed in drop-off and pick-up locations at the school
    • Idle-free bookmarks and static-cling decals for parents/guardians
    • Guidance on how to create student-led Idle-Free School campaigns
    • Sample Idle-Free School policies
    • Sample letters to parents, delivery drivers and bus drivers
    Want to help? Encourage your children’s schools to adopt the idle-free program.

    Idle-free businesses

    Business owners and managers are encouraged to adopt idle-free policies in order to reduce emissions generated on their property, ultimately protecting the health of their employees and customers.PDEQ will supply up to two idle-free signs for parking areas to any business that implements an idle-free policy.

    To join the PDEQ Idle-free programs, contact:

    Natalie Shepp
    PDEQ Clean Air Program Manager