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What you should know about New York’s idling laws

The Law Office of Mindy Paget Brill

Did you know that New York City has laws against letting your car idle? You may think this sounds odd, but due to environmental concerns, the state chose to reduce vehicle emissions, save money, reduce noise and improve fuel economy by preventing idling.

This is what you should know about New York’s idling laws.

The law

No vehicle can idle on New York City streets for more than five minutes. Trucks that weigh 8,500 pounds or more have a five-minute idle limit, while other vehicles cannot idle for more than three minutes. Near schools, the city restricts idling to one minute or less. Even school buses have limited idling allowances.

The state also adopted anti-idling laws that state you cannot idle your vehicle for more than five minutes. Violators of these laws can receive fines from $250 to $18,000 depending on the type of vehicle and the number of violations they have.


Anyone can report an idling vehicle. Therefore, if someone sees you idling for longer than the allotted time, that person can send a photo or video through the NYC website. However, an inspector needs to observe this violation before you will receive an order or summons.


Fortunately, there are exceptions to the anti-idling laws. For example, emergency vehicles do not have to strictly adhere to these regulations during an emergency response. In addition, cargo vehicles can load and unload with their vehicles idling as long as this action requires the engine to run. If you are in temperatures from 25-40 degrees, you can idle your vehicle. Vehicles that use the engine for maintenance or processing are also exempt. Finally, you can idle if you become stuck in traffic.

If you plan to drive in New York or NYC, learn about the anti-idling laws to prevent fines.

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