Vehicle engine idling prohibited on JBM-HH
A car parks in a no parking zone on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall as a demonstration.

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Allowing vehicles to idle on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is against installation regulations. However, it happens - and violating the policy could cost violators money - in the form of a traffic violation.

"We're trying to help with the environment as well as help [prevent] noise pollution," said Lt. Ron Foster, chief of the traffic investigation section with JBM-HH Directorate of Emergency Services.

Referencing the JBM-HH policy on vehicle engine idling prohibition, Foster said this policy has been in effect on the installation for about five or six years.

"DPW [The Department of Public Works] has posted signs in areas where idling takes place often - parking lots, some drop-off locations like bus stops - and if drivers are there for [extended] periods of time, they should cut off their engines," said Foster.

The joint base policy prohibiting vehicle engine idling complies with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), Virginia and District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles, Fort McNair Title V Operating Permit, and Army Regulation on environmental protection and enhancement.

"Engine idling not only wastes fuel, but it also releases into the atmosphere greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen compounds, and volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. Collectively, these compounds contribute to ozone smog and global warming," said Richard P. LaFreniere, JBM-HH director of Environmental Management.

"Engine idling also releases particulate matter that is tied to asthma, lung disease, heart disease and cancer. We can avoid this by simply turning off our engines," he said.

The JBM-HH no-idling policy applies to all gasoline and diesel-powered government-owned/leased motor vehicles and private commercial motor vehicles operating on the joint base. It states vehicles must not idle for more than three minutes while the vehicle is parked, stopped or standing, with exception for emergency vehicles requiring power for operation of auxiliary equipment (medical instruments, computers, radios, radars, lights/sirens and communications equipment). Military tactical vehicles are exempted from idling restrictions. Buses can idle up to 10 minutes to maintain power to the air conditioning system during hot weather. Diesel powered vehicles also are allowed to idle for up to 10 minutes to minimize restart problems (including buses operating in cold weather to maintain power to the heater systems).

On the Fort McNair portion of the joint base, the policy applies to all government and private commercial vehicles except for motor vehicles necessary to operate power takeoff equipment such as, but not limited to, dumping, cement mixer, winches, or shredders; emergency and military tactical vehicles requiring engine power for the operation of auxiliary equipment (such as medical instruments, computers, radios, radars, lights/sirens, and communications equipment); and to operate heating equipment when the local temperature is 32 degrees or below.

"We do write citations if we catch violators," Foster said. He said the first offense will result in a warning and subsequent violations will result in citations. Fines can cost up to $500 for violating the policy, Foster said.

Page last updated Mon April 22nd, 2013 at 00:00