Most people agree that idling vehicles are bad for our community. Every year, it seems, the Park Record comes out with an article about Park City upping enforcement of anti-idling laws. Currently Park City and Summit County have laws that say you can’t idle for more than one minute. It used to be three minutes, but we suppose one minute sounds better.
What’s the problem? You get 3 warnings before you get a fine.
That’s crazy. Imagine if you got 3 warnings before a speeding violation. Many people would drive 100 miles an hour until they were caught a third time.
So, why doesn’t the city and county make it an immediate fine? The reason is Utah Code Title 41 Chapter 6a Part 2 Section 208 3 c ii. It says, “A local highway authority may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts an owner or operator of a vehicle from causing or permitting the vehicle’s engine to idle unless the ordinance provides that a person must be issued at least three warning citations before imposing a fine.”
We often hear with our local politics that we need to contribute money to statewide efforts in order to have a seat at the table. What table would we want to have a seat at more than one that would help make sure we don’t have an inversion like Salt Lake is currently experiencing? Anti-idling ordinances help with that.
It seems our local governments want to tell people that there is a law the books, even though it’s really ineffectual, in order influence behavior. We get that. However, wouldn’t it be even more effective to be able to actually enforce a law?
If idling is really an important issue for Park City and Summit County, maybe it’s time they called in a few chits to change the law… and remove the three “warnings” that neuter our ability to keep our air clean.
That one step may help us from having massive inversions like Salt Lake.