Department of Environmental Protection Announces New Rule to Tighten Idling Regulations for Commercial Trucks

May 23, 2022

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that a new Rule that tightens idling regulations for commercial trucks appears in the City Record and will take effect in 30 days. By providing a definition to the term “processing device,” the new rule is intended to tighten the language in the City’s Air Code that some had used to win dismissal of otherwise valid idling summonses.

Some commercial trucks use the engine for purposes other than driving. This may include powering a refrigeration unit, cement mixer or hoist, for example. The Air Code specifically allows for the engine of a truck to continue to run if it is “used to operate a loading, unloading, or processing device.” The term “processing device” is not defined in the Code and in recent years some have attempted to stretch the understanding of the term to include charging cell phones or portable power tools, for example.

In the new Rule that appears in the City Record today, DEP defines a “processing device” as a device that is necessary to accomplish the vehicle’s designed function via a mechanical connection to the engine (e.g., a cement mixer), or is a temperature control system for food or other temperature-sensitive items. In order to protect public health, federal regulations govern how food and other sensitive cargoes are transported and thus trucks with refrigeration units fall under this explicit exemption. Further, the Rule makes clear that the term does not include a heater or air conditioner used for cabin comfort.

DEP initially proposed the new Rule on January 26 and there was a public hearing on March 2. The Final Rule as published in today’s City Record will take effect in 30 days.

DEP has also established a working group on idling policy in order to ensure that a diverse group of voices, including some of the more active citizen reporters, from the public are part of the discussions driving future policy changes. The group will meet regularly with DEP staff to think about the best policies to combat idling across the five boroughs.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.