No Idling Campaign

In 2009, the Alabama State Board of Education adopted a resolution to create Idle Free Zones on school campuses. The No Idling Resolution was passed in support of the No Idling Campaign created through the partnership of the ADPH and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

Young Lungs Need Clean Air ImageBus drivers have received training to increase awareness about reducing the amount of time they idle while waiting for students at schools. In addition to the bus drivers, parents, teachers, school staff, and administrators will have to work together to make the resolution effective and sustainable. For more information, view the No Idling Campaign Brochure.


Idling Myths

Myth #1: It's important to warm up the engine with a long idle period, especially in cold weather.

Fact #1: With today's school bus engines, bus and engine manufacturers routinely suggest a warm up time of less than five minutes. In fact, running an engine at low speed (idling) causes significantly more wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds.

Myth #2: It's better for an engine to run at low speed (idling) than to run at regular speeds.

Fact #2: Running an engine at low speed causes twice the wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds.

Myth #3: The engine must be kept running in order to operate the school bus safety equipment (flashing lights, stop sign). It's impossible to run this equipment off the internal circuitry of the bus because the battery will run down.

Fact #3: Safety equipment can be operated without the engine running through re-wired circuitry for up to an hour with no ill-effects on the electrical system of the bus.

Myth #4: Idling is necessary to keep the cabin comfortable.

Fact #4: Depending on the weather, many buses will maintain a comfortable interior temperature for a while without idling. Idling is also not an efficient way to keep the cabin warm. Bus routes should be timed so children and drivers do not need to spend a lot of extra time on the bus when it is not en route, particularly in hot or cold weather. In addition, auxiliary heaters can be purchased and installed to keep the cabin comfortable.

Myth #5: It’s better to just leave the engine idling because a "cold start" produces more pollution.

Fact #5: A recent EPA study found that the emission pulse measured after the school bus is restarted contains less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants than if the school bus idled continuously over a 10-minute period. The analysis indicated that continuous idling for more than three minutes emitted more fine particle (soot) emissions than at restart.

Page last updated: April 9, 2017