DEP URGES SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS TO "TURN OFF
Eliminating Idling Promotes Good Health And
(04/116) Trenton -- Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today
called upon school districts and school bus companies to
help protect schoolchildren from a health threat they face
every day-diesel exhaust from school buses. DEP is urging
school districts and school bus operators to voluntarily
eliminate school bus idling while waiting to load and unload
"Idling hurts children because they are especially
vulnerable to asthma attacks, bronchitis and other illnesses
caused by the soot in diesel emissions," said Commissioner
Campbell. "In New Jersey alone, one in every 13 schoolchildren
has asthma, which is a leading cause of school absenteeism.
We are asking school bus drivers to help improve the air
our children breathe with one simple task: turn off your
Campbell made today's announcement at the Grandview Elementary
School in Piscataway. Joining Campbell were Piscataway Mayor
Brian Wahler, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, and Senator
Bob Smith and Assemblyman John McKeon, who are co-sponsoring
legislation to reduce diesel emissions from on-road and
off-road vehicles. Also, a representative from the Pediatric/Adult
Asthma Coalition of New Jersey, Carol McGotty, addressed
outdoor air quality and the alarming rise in pediatric asthma
among New Jersey's schoolchildren.
"Over and over again, scientific studies have found
links between exposure to harmful diesel emissions and increased
incidents of asthma, higher rates of allergies, cardiovascular
problems, and even cancer," said Senator Bob Smith.
"The number of premature deaths that can be attributed
to diesel emissions exposure could exceed the annual number
of homicides or motor vehicle accident fatalities in the
State. It is estimated that New Jersey citizens spend $70
million each year for health care impacts from diesel particulates."
New Jersey law prohibits engines, including school buses,
from idling for more than three minutes in most instances;
however, DEP is urging school districts and school bus drivers
to go beyond the minimum and implement best practices to
reduce harmful diesel emissions. These best practices include
turning off engines when waiting to load and unload students,
replacing old buses in the fleet first as they often release
the most emissions, and using new buses for long routes.
Diesel emissions are a likely carcinogen, and include fine
particles, commonly called soot. These pollutants are known
to cause asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease
and premature death. Diesel exhaust ranks among the air
pollutants that pose the greatest risk to public health.
Research has shown that fine particles are harmful because
they bypass the body's natural defense mechanisms and penetrate
deep into the lungs. In fact, diesel soot particles are
so tiny that several thousand could fit on the period at
the end of this sentence.
As part of DEP's commitment to providing a cleaner, healthier
environment for New Jersey's citizens, the state has pledged
to reduce harmful soot by 20 percent during the next decade.
One way to help achieve this goal is by eliminating engine
idling. DEP's anti-idling awareness campaign encourages
school districts and school bus companies to sign a no-idling
As well as the health benefits, eliminating idling saves
money by conserving fuel and reducing the frequency of maintenance
and replacement of school buses.
To learn more about diesel emissions and public health,
visit DEP's Web site:
To learn more about the Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition
of New Jersey, visit their Web site: