SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Violations of California’s school bus idling rules now get a minimum fine of $300, up from $100.
The increase went info effect earlier this year.
Under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations, school bus drivers must turn off their engines immediately at schools and not idle for more than five minutes at other locations.
(Idling to operate equipment needed for health, safety or operational concerns is exempt from the restrictions.)
CARB Information Officer Karen Caesar told SBF that the regulation went into effect in 2003, although “at that time, it wasn’t codified, meaning it wasn’t part of the California Health and Safety Code.”
Still, violations got a minimum fine of $100. Last year, a state bill passed that codified the rules and raised the minimum fine to $300, Caesar said.
An SBF “Green Fleets” profile on Colton (Calif.) Joint Unified School District last year described its efforts to ensure compliance of the CARB rules. The district had begun using a GPS system to monitor bus idling and speed.
“Our veteran drivers are very aware of the benefits of our green fleet,” said Rick Feinstein, transportation director at the district, which also runs its buses on compressed natural gas. “Our GPS system helps us reinforce green management behaviors not only training new drivers but among our entire staff.
“The most important fact is that we’re transporting children, and studies show that their lungs are more affected by pollution,” he added. “It’s also a good example for students, who are now learning about living greener.”