Council Member Wants To Train Citizens To Spot, Turn-In Illegal Idlers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Leaving a car idling is annoying, smells bad, and at the end of the day is hazardous to your health.

Exhaust coming from cars idling all around the city has one council member hoping to put an end to it, with the help of everyday citizens.

“This is a real environmental problem and a real public health problem that I know my constituents have been urging me to address,” Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-6th) told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.

Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side and said the problem is just too widespread for the NYPD and the Department of Environmental Protection to catch every violator.

The law is already pretty clear.

“You can’t idle for more than three minutes anywhere in the city and if you’re in front of a school you can’t idle for more than one minute,” Rosenthal explained.

She is proposing a new program to train citizens to spot illegal idlers.

“You can see if the car behind me is idling all you would need to do is videotape the license plate, and then load it onto a website at DEP and then DEP would issue a summons,” she said.

The program would require citizens to attend special training. An initial offense would result in a warning, next come a summons and a $350 fine.

The person reporting the violator could earn up to 50 percent of the money once it’s collected by the city.

“Yeah it’s easy money. I don’t know is that like terrible to say? I would do it,” Maddy Long said.

Rosenthal is hopeful the incentive will cut back on the city’s smog.

The bill will be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday. If approved, the program could be in place by the end of the year.

 

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