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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued an order that will prohibit trucks with sleeping berths from idling their diesel engines while parked. This is believed to be the first such action, on a state level, to require trucks to shut off their engines during layovers.
The action is expected to provide a boost in the development of truck auxiliary power units that allow truckers to keep heating, air conditioning and other electrical devices operating without running the truck engine. However, the measure was opposed by trucking industry groups, which said there are no efficient auxiliary power supplies currently available for sleeper trucks and a no-idling rule could threaten the safety of drivers who need to rest.
The new rule will go into effect for engines on 2008 model year trucks weighing more than 14,000 pounds. Trucks will have to be equipped with a system to automatically shut off the engine after five minutes. Owners of pre-2008 sleeper trucks may have to install an auxiliary power supply or some other equipment to provide heat or air conditioning for the cab.
Various press reports indicate the decision will affect an estimated 180,000 big-rig trucks operating in California In 2004, California ordered operators of commercial trucks and buses to shut off their engines after idling for five minutes, but the rule did not cover trucks with sleeping berths unless they were within 100 feet of a home or school.
In a separate decision, the air regulators directed state transit agencies to add filters to older diesel buses to trap pollutants.