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Anti-Idling Efforts Target School Zones

Caldwell educating residents about idling laws. Keeping parked cars running for more than three minutes is a no-no.

Anti-Idling Efforts Target School Zones

School is in, idling is out.

That's the message Caldwell Environmental Commission Chairman Ann Marchioni is helping to spread.

Marchioni held up one of the "No Idling Zone" signs which will be placed near school zones this fall at Tuesday night's meeting of the Caldwell Council.

The signs are part of an effort to control idling in the borough which started with the council passing an anti-idling ordinance earlier this year.

Not idling can save fuel and money, Marchioni said. 

"Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting the engine. Ten minutes of idling uses as much fuel as traveling five miles," she said.

Health benefits, she added, are another reason to turn engines off when cars are not in use. 

Idling causes air pollution which is harmful to people with asthma, lung problems and allergies. She said that children are particularly susceptible to air pollution. 

Idling for more than three minutes is against state law, according to Caldwell Police Chief James Bongiorno.

"It's a law that has been in place since 2010 that most people are not aware of," Bongiorno said. "Our main objective is to raise awareness and to educate."

The chief said officers will be handing out pamphlets outside schools to teach parents about the idling law. Offenders are subject to a $250 fine. 

Bongiorno said the law applies to parked cars, not those sitting in traffic. 

The Caldwell Environmental Commission will be at the on Friday, Sept. 14. Children will be able to make their own anti-idling bookmarks and will receive a free book, "Why is Coco Orange?" along with coloring pages and puzzles about air quality.

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