Illinois Gov. Blagojevich Signs New Law Reducing Idling From Diesel-Engine Vehicles
– Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has signed House Bill 4782 into law, which prevents stationary diesel vehicles of more than 8,000 lbs. from idling for more than 10 minutes in the Chicagoland area and in the St. Louis Metro-East Region, according to the Truck Renting & Leasing Association (TRALA). The law applies to vehicles operating in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. In the Chicago area, this includes Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, and McHenry counties, as well as Aux Sable and Goose Lake Townships in Grundy County and Oswego Township in Kendall County. The affected areas in metropolitan East St. Louis include Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe counties.House Bill 4782 was sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D–Des Plaines) and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D–Evanston). It provides exemptions from the idling limits when the outdoor air temperature is below 32 degrees or above 80 degrees. Other exemptions are granted to account for emergencies, traffic congestion, loading/unloading, when drivers are sleeping in a sleeper berth, and certain other situations. A violator could be fined $50 for a first offense and $150 for a second or subsequent offense within any 12-month period.Legislation establishing idling standards in Illinois was originally introduced by Rep. Nekritz in the 2005 legislative session. This original bill held the vehicle owner or operator liable for the idling violation. TRALA worked successfully with Rep. Nekritz to amend the legislation to include language that exempts lessors from liability resulting from the actions of the vehicle operator. The 2005 idling initiative failed when the legislative session expired before the bill could be enacted. The 2006 version of the bill was introduced with TRALA’s amendment language included.House Bill 4782 is effective July 1, 2006.Gov. Blagojevich also signed Senate Bill 2878 into law, which provides that the secretary of state may not renew the vehicle registration of any vehicle owner who fails to comply with vehicle emissions testing requirements. SB 2878 was sponsored by Rep. Mike Tryon (R–Crystal Lake) and Sen. Martin Sandoval (D–Chicago). It eliminates the driver’s license suspension enforcement mechanism in the current program and replaces it with a vehicle registration denial system. This would preclude a driver being arrested for a suspended driver’s license.The Illinois vehicle emissions test checks whether a vehicle’s emission control system is working properly. Vehicles that are not properly maintained or that have malfunctioning emission-control systems often exceed these standards. SB 2878 requires vehicles that fail the emissions test be repaired prior to being registered with the secretary of state. Senate Bill 2878 is effective immediately.