Hats off to our Saint Luke School for leading the way with signage for car pool lanes, which reads:
The no-idling practice helps avoid a “hot spot” of exhaust pollution that is especially bad for children and elderly people, not to mention the environment.
PTAs may be opportunities to spread this practice among other local schools. The US EPA offers flyers and information with facts and suggestions for school and school bus focused idle-reduction campaigns. Typing Idle Free Schools toolkit into your browser will bring you to links for the EPA’s Turn the Key, Be Idle Free campaign.
For personal vehicle drivers, the US Dept. of Energy website includes an Idle Reduction Tips sheet, some of the suggestions include:
- Except in traffic, turn the engine off if you’ll be static for more than 10 seconds, such as while running an errand, waiting for someone, or at a long stop like a railroad crossing.
- With modern gasoline engines, idling is actually harder on your engine than shutting it off.
- Look for opportunities to “turn the key” at fast food drive-throughs, the drive-up teller at banks, or drive-through pharmacies.
- The many businesses that offer curbside pickup are another chance to just “turn the key” when you will be stopped for more than 10 seconds.
- Engines off means no gas use, no engine wear, and no emissions.
Knowing the facts may give us the incentive to create new habits that are costless, painless and will benefit everyone. We can each do something, we can start, we can talk about it and with small acts raise our awareness.