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An idling car produces air pollution, even though the car is not going anywhere. Only ten minutes of idling per day adds more than 50 pounds of carbon monoxide, particles, nitrogen oxides, and other toxic gases to the air per year. If you idle more than 30 seconds, your car will emit more air pollution than if you turn it off and on again. Schools and child care providers are encouraged to establish “No Idling” zones where parents may wait to pick up children. Check out the ISDH Great Reasons Not to Idle brochure [PDF] for more reasons to turn your car off.
Diesel exhaust from idling school buses poses a health risk to both drivers and students. As idling buses wait for students at schools, they emit exhaust fumes which concentrate at ground level and which can enter both passenger compartments of the buses and school classrooms through ventilation systems. Numerous scientific studies indicate that exposure to diesel exhaust can cause lung damage, respiratory problems, premature death, and lung cancer. Although everyone can be affected by diesel exhaust, children are more susceptible to these health problems because they breathe faster than adults and their respiratory systems are still developing.
School bus drivers can make a significant impact on protecting the health of their passengers and their own health by limiting engine idling whenever practical. Here are some simple guidelines for school bus drivers to follow:
Certain exceptions may be made (consistent with school policies or state regulations) under the following conditions: