On World Asthma Day, Senator Squadron and Assembly Member Kavanagh Announce Bill That Will Reduce Idling Statewide

New Legislation Will Cut All Heavy-Duty Vehicle Idling Time to 1 Minute; “Common-Sense” Way to Cut Down on Asthma-Causing Pollution
May 5, 2009

New York, NY – Today, World Asthma Day, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh announced a bill that will cut idling time to 1 minute for all heavy-duty vehicles statewide. The bill would reduce air pollution in New York State and combat respiratory illnesses like asthma that can be triggered and exacerbated by poor air quality.

“More than one million New Yorkers suffer from asthma, and pollutants in our air make the problem worse. Preventing trucks and buses from idling their engines is a common-sense step we can take toward cleaner air and a healthier New York. On Asthma Day we have to send the message loud and clear: when trucks and buses stop, it's time to stop polluting,” said Senator Squadron.

"Thousands of New Yorkers struggle every day to breathe as pollution and traffic worsen the effects of their asthma. While we continue to press for broad solutions to the congestion of our streets, we recognize that idling trucks and buses pose an immediate and unnecessary threat to air quality and health. The legislation we propose would reduce these harmful effects and allow all New Yorkers to breathe easier as they live, work, and play in our communities," said Assembly Member Kavanagh.

According to the most recent Asthma Surveillance Report by the State Department of Health, approximately 1.1 million adults in New York State suffer from asthma, as well as 370,000 children. On average, there are approximately 42,400 hospitalizations each year attributable to asthma. Senator Squadron and Assembly Member Kavanagh’s bill would help reduce asthma-causing pollution from heavy-duty vehicles that idle for more than one minute.

Councilmember John C. Liu, Chairperson of the City Council Transportation Committee and lead sponsor of the new citywide school zone idling law that will go into effect on Monday, May 11, stated: "The new law in New York City is primarily intended to improve public awareness and behavior by essentially requiring that engines be shut off right away instead of being kept on for a few minutes. Especially around schools, but also anywhere in our congested city for that matter, engines simply should not be kept running for any length of time. I applaud Senator Squadron's leadership in taking our anti-idling efforts to the next level throughout the State to help protect air quality for millions of New Yorkers."

“Asthma-Free School Zone applauds Senator Daniel Squadron for introducing this important piece of legislation that will reduce the amount of diesel particulates in the air and improve the air that all New Yorkers breathe,” said Rebecca Kalin, Director, Asthma-Free School Zone.