MAMARONECK — It may soon be a crime to keep your car running for more than three minutes on a village street.
The Board of Trustees this month is considering the measure intended to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions that damage local air quality and pose health risks to residents.
The board on Monday night agreed to hold a public hearing on the anti-idling ban at its March 14 meeting.
“You shouldn’t be leaving your motor running,” Trustee Toni Ryan said in an interview. “It’s not good for the environment, and it’s not good for … people with respiratory problems.”
Local law currently prohibits idling on village-owned property, with exemptions for emergency workers and vehicles with engines that are used to operate loading or processing devices.
The new legislation broadens the ban to drivers idling on a “street, road or highway” in the village. It also exempts vehicles “engaged in official government business” such as postal vans. There is also an allowance for buses that are kept running when the outdoor temperature drops below 40 degrees.
The county Board of Legislators approved a similar anti-idling law back in 2008, but the new bill before the village board gives local police more flexibility in how strictly they enforce the ban.
The village legislation is based on recommendations from the Committee for the Environment, an advisory body to the village board that recently raised concerns about buses idling near schools and trucks kept running near local businesses.
Trustee John Hofstetter said the new anti-idling ban is not meant to be punitive.
“We don’t want tickets as soon as this law goes into effect, and we don’t want police to crack down on people,” he said. “It’s to give people a warning.”
The American Lung Association last year gave Westchester’s air quality mostly poor and failing grades, based partly on the high levels of ozone, a pollutant that can damage the respiratory system.