You hold the key to clean air
Often idling cannot be helped, for example, if you are warming up your vehicle to help clear your windshield or dropping off the kids at the rink.
Just as often, there are situations when idling is not necessary. People are often seen running their vehicles while waiting to pick up a child at school or while running into a store. Unnecessary idling gets you nowhere; instead‚ it wastes money and fuel, and produces greenhouse gases that lead to climate change.
As part of our Sustainable Community strategy, Okotoks has recently introduced a new idle-free bylaw.
Okotoks’ Idle-Free Bylaw
The newly-approved idle-free bylaw puts measures in place we can all follow to benefit our community. The intent of this bylaw is to limit excessive idling. It’s important to know the bylaw has rules in place that change along with the temperature outside. Exceptions have been written into Bylaw 18-15 to take extenuating circumstances into effect.
Idle-Free Bylaw Highlights
- No driver shall cause or permit an occupied vehicle to idle for more than three (3) consecutive minutes within a continuous thirty (30) minute period when the outdoor ambient air temperature is between 5oC and 25oC.
- No persons shall cause or permit an unoccupied vehicle to idle for than three (3) consecutive minutes within a continuous thirty (30) minute period when the outdoor ambient air temperature is above 0oC.
- No persons shall cause or permit an unoccupied vehicle to idle for more than ten (10) consecutive minutes within a continuous thirty (30) minute period when the outdoor ambient air temperature is below 0oC.
Yes. For example, idling is permitted if there is a pet present in an unoccupied vehicle. You are also allowed to idle (if required) while engaged in a mechanical test or vehicle maintenance.
Please read Bylaw 18-15 for the full list of exceptions.
How Air Quality Affects Health
Exhaust from vehicles is a major contributor to air pollution. Air pollution has a real and measurable effect on our health. Government analysis of data from eight Canadian cities shows approximately 5,900 deaths can be linked to air pollution every year. Air pollution sends thousands more Canadians to hospital each year.
Children’s lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Limiting a vehicle’s idling time can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children’s exposure to them.
We Can Benefit Our Environment
Consider this: If all Canadians avoided idling for five minutes every day, we could prevent more than 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our environment. That’s like taking 350,000 cars off the road for a year!
Myth: Your vehicle’s engine should be warm before driving.
Fact: Idling is not the most effective way to warm a vehicle’s engine. The best way to warm up your car is to drive it at a moderate speed. Even on the coldest days, you can drive away after 30 seconds.
Myth: Idling is good for your engine.
Fact: Idling can damage your vehicle’s engine components. An idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature, which means complete fuel combustion is not occurring. The accumulation of soot deposits on cylinder walls can lead to oil contamination and damage engine components.
Myth: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine.
Fact: Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components, such as the battery and starter. When shutting off and restarting the vehicle, the potential for fuel savings outweighs the wear on the vehicle’s components.