Idling emissions from gasoline and diesel motor vehicle engines are known contributors to health related impacts, including asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular harm. Idling for longer than three minutes or more than one minute while adjacent to a school is illegal. If you witness a vehicle idling illegally, you can anonymously contact 311 or file a complaint online.
If you would like to potentially receive an award for your enforcement efforts, you can also participate in our Citizens Air Complaint Program. To participate, login to our Idling Complaint System to file and track your complaint. Local Law 058 of 2018 details the award amount for submitting this type of complaint.
What vehicles can a citizen file an idling complaint against?
Trucks that are used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property and buses that have seating capacity of 15 or more passengers in addition to the driver and used for the transportation of persons. However, there are exceptions for when a citizen can file a complaint against a truck and bus.
When can a truck legally idle?
Trucks that use the motor vehicle engine to run a piece of equipment such as the refrigeration unit on a delivery truck, an ice cream truck’s machines, a truck’s lift gate when being used to load and unload product, etc. are allowed to keep that engine running. When a secondary engine is used to run this type of equipment and the motor vehicle engine is off, the idling provision does not apply. If you submit a complaint regarding a refrigeration truck, you must document that the engine that moves the vehicle was on and was not being used to run the refrigeration unit.
What is a processing device?
A processing device is a device engaging in industrial, commercial, agricultural or other activity, operation, manufacture or treatment in which both (1) chemical, biological and/or physical properties of the material or materials are changed (or in which materials that are conveyed or stored in a non-mobile vented system without changing), and (2) air contaminants are emitted to the outdoor atmosphere.
Trucks that use the motor vehicle engine or a secondary motor to run a piece of equipment such as the refrigeration unit on a delivery truck, an ice cream truck, a truck using a lift gate to load and unload product, etc. are allowed to keep that engine running. If you submit a complaint regarding a refrigeration truck, you must document that the engine that moves the vehicle was on and was not being used to run the refrigeration unit.
In addition, a truck using a lift gate to load and unload product, etc. is allowed to keep that engine running.
Effective June 22, 2022, there is a rule that defines processing device. The following definition will be used to review complaints. Processing Device: For purposes of section 24-163 of the administrative code, the term “processing device” shall mean:
The term “processing device” shall not include a heater or air conditioner operated for cabin comfort.
Why are vehicles exempt from the idling rules?
There are some situations where a company has been granted a variance from the idling law. Currently, the following companies have variances from DEP: EPIC Security Corp and Rapid Armored Corp.
When can a bus legally idle?
When the bus is being used to actively load/unload passengers.
Can I file an idling complaint against a passenger vehicle?
No. The law limits the citizen complaint program to trucks and buses.
Can I file an idling complaint against an emergency vehicle?
No. An emergency vehicle is defined as an ambulance, police vehicle or bicycle, correction vehicle, fire vehicle, civil defense emergency vehicle, emergency ambulance service vehicle, blood delivery vehicle, county emergency medical services vehicle, environmental emergency response vehicle, sanitation patrol vehicle, hazardous materials emergency vehicle and ordnance (artillery) disposal vehicle of the armed forces of the United States.
How long does the truck or bus have to be idling for in order to file a complaint?
When a truck or bus is not allowed to idle for longer than three (3) minutes, the observation must be for at least three minutes and 10 seconds. When a truck or bus is not allowed to idle for longer than one (1) minute, the observation must be for at least 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Example: Observing a vehicle idling from 1pm to 1:03pm does not meet the requirement of more than 3 minutes.
When do you use the one minute standard?
When a vehicle is found idling adjacent to any public or non-public school (pre-K–12), then the idling limit is no longer than one (1) minute. Adjacent is defined as a vehicle idling on any street on which a school is located where there are entrances and/or exits from the school to the street. Schools include any building or structure, playground, athletic field or other property that is part of the school (15 RCNY §39-02). Colleges, Universities, post graduate schools, etc. are not included in the one (1) minute rule, so you would have to document more than three (3) minutes of idling.
Are there any situations where a respondent does not have to pay the penalty?
City and state vehicles, including MTA/TA buses, and federal vehicles, are subject to the idling regulations but a summons is administratively dismissed and no monetary penalty is collected. We would appreciate it if you do observe a city or state vehicle, truck or bus idling, to send the name of the agency and the license plate number to our e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can follow up with that agency.
What documentation is required to submit the citizen complaint?
The following pieces of evidence are required:
*To produce a video or photo with a date and time stamp, you can download the “Timestamp Camera Enterprise” application to your mobile device.
How do I submit my complaint?
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022: You should submit your completed complaint within 60 days from the date of observation, along with the completed affidavit or affirmation and all supporting evidence using the online Idling Complaint System. Submissions received after 60 days from the date of observation may be rejected. It is to your advantage to use this system as it allows you to keep track of your complaints.
What happens after I submit my complaint?
Where DEP issues the summons, you will be informed of the summons number and hearing date. You may need to be available in person or by phone to testify. If the summons is upheld, the respondent must pay the penalty in order for you to receive payment for your complaint. If the summons is dismissed, you are not entitled to any payment.
How do I request payment if entitled?
Anyone who is requesting a bounty payment based on an idling summons that was paid by the respondent must have a Vendor Code to apply for the bounty payment. Please go to the Comptroller’s Office website and follow the steps to create a Vendor Code in the City of New York Payee Information Portal (“PIP”).
The Comptroller’s Office accepts electronically signed W-9s submitted through PIP. You will receive your Vendor Code after activating your PIP account. The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings will require your Vendor Code to process any requests for bounty payments as of September 1, 2021. Please forward your requests and your vendor code to email@example.com. No further bounty payment requests will be processed without the information requested.
Can I track the progress of the summons?
You can use the OATH website to see the status of the summons. To find the summons, you need to enter three zeros before the actual summons number so that you are entering nine (9) digits and a letter. An example of this format is 000123456A. An image of the actual summons will be available approximately two weeks before the hearing date.