Idling Policy

Effective May 5, 2014 the State of Vermont enacted into law 23 V.S.A. § 1110. Prohibited Idling of Motor Vehicles, Act 57 (Section 28, pages 30-32). This law limits the idling of all motor vehicles while parked to five minutes in any 60 minute period, with some exception. Castleton University is dedicated to promoting this law and its implications for clean air and a sustainable environment. Below is the University’s policy regarding idling of any car on campus and any University vehicle, regardless of location.


This policy applies to the operation of any vehicle on the Castleton University property. Additionally, this policy applies to any University owned vehicle, whether it is present on campus or elsewhere.


Exhaust from idling vehicles can accumulate and pose a health risk to employees, drivers, and the community at large including:

  • Exposure to exhaust can cause lung damage and respiratory problems.
  • Exhaust also exacerbates asthma and existing allergies, and long-term exposure is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer. Vermont has the highest rate of adult asthma in the nation (CDC, 2010).

Idling vehicles also waste fuel and financial resources:

  • An idling vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon and wastes expensive fuel.
  • Excessive idling results in ‘increased engine wear and carbon soot buildup’ (Oak Ridge National Lab, 2013), which can decrease engine life and increase maintenance costs.

Idling cars contributes to global warming and the carbon footprint of Castleton University:

  • While Castleton has adopted many hybrid vehicles, our fleet still relies extensively on fossil fuels which contribute additional fossil fuels into the atmosphere, resulting in a slowly warming climate over time.

Idling is bad for public health, the environment, and bad for the bottom line.


To minimize idling time in all aspects of facility vehicle operation.

Guidance (Policy)

In general, idling time is limited to a maximum of three (3) minutes.

  • When drivers arrive at loading or unloading areas to drop off or pick up passengers, they should turn off their vehicles as soon as possible to eliminate idling time and reduce harmful emissions. Vehicles should not be restarted until passengers are ready to depart and there is a clear path by which to exit the pickup area. Exceptions include conditions that would compromise passenger safety, such as:
    • extreme weather
    • idling in traffic
  • When starting any vehicle, limit idling time during early-morning warm-up to what is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (usually 30 seconds) in all but the coldest weather (1-3 minutes below 0˚F). Exceptions include:
    • inadequate defrosting of windows, since visibility is essential for safe operation
    • heavy-duty diesel engines may require between 3-5 minutes to warm-up in cold weather
  • All service delivery vehicles should turn off their engines while making deliveries to the facility.
  • This policy will be integrated into the Castleton Fleet Safety License training.
  • All drivers of any campus vendor or Castleton University vehicle should receive a copy of this bulletin and be encouraged to discuss it at the beginning of every year.