July 2, 2014

State and Princeton Municipal Law Forbids Unused Vehicle Engine Idling for More Than Three Minutes

To the Editor:

This is in support of the letter from Scott Sipprelle on “Fossil-Fuel-Emitting Trucks Owned by Towns Should be Turned Off When Not in Use,” Town Topics, June 25.

Both State and Princeton municipal law forbids unused vehicle engine idling for more than three minutes, the only exception being refrigerated trucks carrying perishable foods.

Unnecessary engine idling is not only a public health air pollution problem that adds to global warming, it is also a gross waste of energy and of public funds.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, all municipal, school, university and other motor vehicles will use alternatives such as electric motors, with a possible interim step of hybrid engine use. Princeton has much more
congestion and heavier traffic than in the past and our public officials, as well as other large entity officials, should be planning now for the switch to less polluting alternative energy especially when vehicle replacements are being made. School children are often subjected to schoolbus diesel fumes, a serious health hazard for all but especially for the young, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory or other health problems.

As a former member of the then Princeton Regional Health Commission (now called Princeton Board of Health) we addressed this issue by enacting a local ordinance to match the State’s three-minute engine idling limit requirements as a means of better local enforcement.

Grace Sinden

Ridgeview Circle