NEW YORK — Ten companies have been singled out by the city of New York as the worst offenders against its clean air laws.
According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office, 420 complains have been filed through the Citizens Air Complaint Program (CACP) over idling trucks throughout the city. It is illegal for commercial trucks to idle longer than three minutes on a New York City street or for more than one minute while next to a city school.
There are exemptions for emergency vehicles, certain vehicles that operate loading, unloading or processing devices and school buses and other buses when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since its inception, the CACP has seen a 440% increase in submissions and is on track for 90,000 complaints in 2023, marking its biggest year ever, the mayor’s office said.
“We’re making two things clear: If companies do the right thing and electrify their fleets, we’ll have their backs. And if companies don’t, while they idle and continue to expose our children to asthma-causing pollution, we’ll hold them accountable,” Adams said. “New Yorkers deserve clear streets and clean air, and the Citizens Air Complaint Program is helping us deliver.”
Meanwhile, armored truck carrier Loomis, which is ninth on the idling offenders’ list, has announced that it plans to electrify its fleet within the city.
Loomis does not turn off their vehicles during their routes due to security concerns.
“As a result of Loomis’s commitment to fully electrify their fleet by 2025, and continued demonstrations of progress towards that goal, the city will issue a variance for idling penalties against Loomis,” the mayor’s news release stated.
Loomis will purchase six electric vehicles a year over the next three years. Currently, two vehicles in the Loomis fleet are already electrified.
“Loomis is committed to be the industry leader in reducing our carbon footprint and having the most efficient transportation network possible. Reducing CO2 emissions from our vehicles through the investment in electric vehicles is a major component of our plan,” said Patrick Otero, chief financial officer at Loomis. “We look forward to our partnership with New York City as we invest in our fleet and continue our rollout of zero-emission electric vehicles in the city. Loomis Armored US will be completely emission-free in New York City by the end of 2025.”
TOP TEN IDLING OFFENDERS
- LabQ Clinical Diagnostics LLC: 3,288 summonses.
- Amazon: 2,964 summonses.
- Con Ed: 2,814 summonses.
- Verizon: 2,813 summonses.
- Merchants Automotive Group: 2,486 summonses.
- Brink’s Incorporated: 1,020 summonses.
- Spectrum/Charter: 1,011 summonses.
- Garde CL: 598 summonses.
- Loomis: 420 summonses.
- Fed Ex: 390 summonses.
“Every vehicle idling on our streets is pouring pollution into our atmosphere and our airways, and we won’t allow that to continue,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “The companies behind this public health hazard have a choice: They can do the right thing and electrify their fleets, like Loomis is, or we’ll make them pay for the damage they’re causing.”
Amazon has paid a total of $1,014,387 to satisfy 764 outstanding engine idling violations issued to the company and affiliated entities, according to the mayor’s office.
As of March 17, 2023, Amazon had an additional 1,640 summonses awaiting adjudication, with the company potentially facing a minimum of an additional $691,010 in penalties, according to the city. The remaining summonses are in various stages of process. The enormous number of summonses that Amazon continues to amass indicates that Amazon’s violation of the city’s engine idling prohibitions continues unabated.
Other top violators include Ryder Truck Rental, Penske Truck Rental, EZ Rental, National Grid, Union Beer Distributors, EAN Holdings (parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent a Car) and United Parcel Service (UPS).
CITIZENS COMPLAINT PROGRAM
The Citizens Air Complaint Program allows individuals who witness illegal truck idling to file a complaint online with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Participants upload three-minute videos of idling trucks and, following further investigation, DEP may issue a summons based on these reports.
If DEP does not issue a summons, the citizen reporting the violation may issue a summons.
If the city is successful in collecting on citizen-reported violations, the citizen reporting the violation is entitled to a share of the amount recovered. Penalties imposed are $350 to $1,000 for a first violation, $440 to $1,500 for a second violation, and $600 to $2,000 for a third or any subsequent violations. DEP, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, and the New York City Department of Sanitation all have authority to issue summonses for violation of the excessive idling provisions.
Since its inception, the CACP has produced a significant spike in the number of complaints being filed. DEP received 9,070 complaints in 2019, 9,569 in 2020, 12,267 in 2021 and 48,979 complaints in 2022 — a 440% increase from when the program began, according to the mayor’s office.
Just this year, DEP received 7,428 complaints in January, 7,304 in February, and 8,431 in March — putting the program on a trajectory for more than 90,000 complaints in 2023.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.