Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah
Picture of Utah

UCAIR encourages Utahn's to be idle free in their cars

Robin Saville
Don Hudson
"Idling is anytime you are sitting in your car and unnecessarily sitting their with your engine running," says Sophia Jackson who is the Communications and Northern Coordinator for Utah Clean Cities.

Idling your car for more than thirty seconds is harmful to Utah's Air.  Idling vehicles consume more than two billion gallons of diesel and gasoline each year according to Utah Clean Cities.  

The "Turn Your Key Be Idle Free" program started in 2006 to encourage school bus drivers to not idle their buses.  It has now grown to encourage parents to be idle free when picking up their kids.  UCAIR--or Utah Clean Air--is working to help Utahn's learn to be idle free.

"We were able to see that idling was an issue.  It was becoming more of an issue with all the air quality problems.  And we noticed parents were doing it around their kids, and of course we all care about our kids health," said Jackson.

We usually don't even think about it.  We just keep the car idling when waiting to pick up our kids, or waiting in the drive-through at a fast food restaurant, at banks, airports and even grocery stores.

"You actually emit more pollutants into the air by idling ten seconds rather than turning your car off and turning your car back on," said Jackson.

A child's lungs are more susceptible to damage than adults.  Unnecessary idling around schools can exacerbate childhood asthma and other respiratory challenges for school age children.

"We get stories all the time of parents saying my kid got mad at me because my car was idling and they told me to turn it off.  So these kids are even being really good examples for their own parents.

In 2010 Governor Herbert declared September to be idle free awareness month.  Recently the Governor expanded the program.

"And this year instead of having it be just one month idle free awareness, he declared that the 2014-2015 winter season is idle free in Utah," said Jackson.

Jackson said the biggest challenge is getting the message out to be idle free.

"Our biggest problem that we have is getting the message out and educating these parents and these teachers and these students about idling. But we have seen successes when we are able to get that word out."

UCAIR says we can all show we care about Utah's air by learning to not idle our cars.

To learn more about the idle free initiative go to www.ucair.org