How To: Report Vehicle Idling

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. Create an account and log into the site.
  2. 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.
  3. Submit the complaint.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.