It is illegal for commercial trucks, vans, and passenger buses in NYC to idle for more than three minutes, with certain exceptions.* If you document and submit idling violations to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), you could be eligible for 25% of the imposed fine.
*Commercial Trucks/Vans: Idling must be coming from the vehicle’s engine and not a secondary motor or generator. Idling is allowed when the engine is being used to power a loading device or a refrigeration unit. Passenger Bus: Must have 15+ passenger capacity. Idling is allowed when passengers are entering or exiting the bus and when the temperature is below 40°F/4°C.
How to Document Idling:
Idling vehicles should be documented by both video and photograph and include a clear date and time stamp.
- Use your phone to record a video of a idling vehicle. The recording must be more than three minutes and the noise from vehicle’s running engine clearly audible. If in a school zone, the recording only needs to be more than one minute.
- Take photos of the license plate, company name on the vehicle, US DOT number (if available), vehicle location with street landmarks, and a screenshot of the temperature using the weather app.
Submit an Idling Complaint:
New idling complaints should be submitted through the NYC Department of Environmental Protection website found here.
- Create an account and log into the site.
- You will be prompted to answer questions that include the contact information of the offending company, details about the location and time of the occurrence, and a written description of the incident. This is a legal proceeding through the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and you will be asked to submit a notarized affidavit.
- Submit the complaint.
- You’ll get a notification after you submit when the DEP decides to move forward or not, as well as a notification of the trial date.
- If a penalty is awarded based on your submitted evidence, you will need to request your payment from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.