TD introduces Bill to ban car ‘idling’ outside schools

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 Proposed Bill to ban cars ‘idling’ outside schools

Idling Car Bill

Keeping your engine running outside a school while dropping your kids off could become illegal under a proposed new Bill.

According to Social Democrat TD, Jennifer Whitmore, running your engine can produce twice as much exhaust emissions than a moving car.

Basically speaking this legislation bans parents and guardians from idling their engines outside school. Under these proposals, the Gardai can be called and fine you on the spot for leaving your engine running while you wait to pick up your children.

“This legislation would give schools the added support of a garda or a warden who could issue on-the-spot fines to those who allow their cars to idle.”

This ban is seen as just one of a suite of measures needed to ensure child safety outside schools. 

Of course, she maintains that this legislation is not there to penalise parents who pull in to drop children off to school and allow the engine to idle momentarily, but for those people who may have to wait up to 20 minutes waiting for school to open or for other families to arrive.

She believes there are significant environmental and health dangers from such behaviour?  On the other side of the coin, we wonder if a parent or guardian could be fined for idling their engine in the height of winter, with ice and snow on the ground? Will this proposed legislation take into account that in sub-zero temperatures, it may be imperative that the engine be kept running for the health of the driver and to keep children and aged passengers warm in inclement weather?

The Wicklow TD said a child is very often close to the level of a car’s exhaust pipe, placing them at special danger. Well, this should be a concern for sure.

“Idling cars are bad for the environment, public health and people’s pockets,” she said, adding that many schools had already made attempts to ban idling.

“An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion and international studies have found that idling for over ten seconds uses more fuel and produces more carbon dioxide than restarting your engine,” 

“This means that the air quality around schools can be especially poor, posing a threat to children, who are particularly susceptible to health risks caused by air pollution. For example, Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma worldwide and studies have shown that air pollution can cause asthma in young children.

“This legislation would give schools the added support of a garda or a warden who could issue on-the-spot fines to those who allow their cars to idle” she said.

“Banning car idling at schools is one way to make a simple and environmentally friendly decision that can have an immediate and positive impact on communities. It will not only benefit children, and the wider school community, but help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change”

According to the TD, both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have previously said they would support a ban on car idling outside schools and she is hopeful of cross-party support for the rapid enactment of the Bill.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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