Deadly car idling? That’s what NJ gov’t wants you to think (Opinion)
That's right, in New Jersey it's illegal to idle your car for more than 3 minutes with a few exceptions. One exception is when the temps fall below 25 degrees. At that point, you're OK to warm the car.
For me, I'm a proud scofflaw. I idle my car to warm it up when it's cold, usually around the 30-32 degree mark.
I also idle the car in the driveway when it's really hot. If the temps are north of 80 and it's a typical humid New Jersey summer day, you can bet my car is running with the AC blasting for a full 5 minutes before I get in and go.
The environmental radicals have been trying to shame those of us who live and respect fossil fuels for years. Some have gone so far as to try to convince people years ago that New York City would be underwater by 2015. Going so far as to predict doom for the United Nations building by 2010! Pretty sure that didn't happen.
For me, I'm a triple threat to society, baby! I'm an unmasked, unvaccinated idler!
Since the myth of doom and gloom around every corner has been busted by, well, reality. The environmental radicals have turned to another tactic. YOU are killing people with your irresponsible actions! They say it about the unvaccinated. They say it about those of us who dare to go inside, with other people, unmasked! And they say it about those of us who idle our cars.
For me, I'm a triple threat to society, baby! I'm an unmasked, unvaccinated idler! You think I'm exaggerating, I know, but here's a statement right from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection:
Excessive idling causes an unnecessary release of air contaminants into the air in New Jersey, including fine particulates and air toxics. Every year, hundreds of New Jerseyans die prematurely from exposure to diesel exhaust. Fine particle pollution may actually cause more deaths in NJ than homicides and car accidents combined." - NJ DEP
More deadly than homicides and accidents combined? To conflate pollution deaths with the guy who idles for 4 minutes in 26-degree weather is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst.
When political and corporate leaders use fear and scare tactics to implement policy and then it turns out they exaggerated ... people push back.
The problem with the hype is people tend to tune out. As a society, it's a laudable goal to reduce pollution and the toxins in the air. But when you look at the miles-long backup with tens of thousands of cars idling for hours in all weather, you have to ask if the driveway idler is the real problem. If you've ever been in a parking garage 30 cars back from the gate to pay, you have to ask if the driveway idler is the problem.
See where I'm going here?
Similar to the panic over COVID and the rush to squash any debate over the reports of adverse effects of the vaccines, efficacy of masks, and the positive result of natural immunity — all dangerous to omit from the conversation.
When political and corporate leaders use fear and scare tactics to implement policy and then it turns out they exaggerated so much that there is barely a trace of truth in the doomsday scenario, people push back, and eventually the pendulum swings wildly back in the opposite direction.
This has already happened regarding COVID restrictions in the southern United States and will eventually happen in New Jersey. For now, it would be nice if the government could find some balance in the message going forward.
Believe it or not, I'd be OK with an upper limit on idling, but let's accommodate the human factor. How about allowing for heat and cold and giving us about 8 minutes. Too much to ask?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.