Dane County Supv. Hulsey calls his ordinance to ban idling by commercial diesel trucks "the number-one thing we can do to reduce air pollution and save lives in Dane County." He modeled it after a similar ban in Illinois.
But some truckers are sounding an alarm. "Idling ordinances are a big inconvenience for drivers," says Tim Klingbiel of Madison, who drives a moving truck cross-country for North American Van Lines.
Drivers often sleep in the cab and keep the engine on for heat or air conditioning. Hulsey's ordinance would let drivers run the engine for 15 minutes if the outside temperature rises above 80 degrees or falls below 40 degrees. And the ban does not apply when the temperature dips to 10 degrees. But Klingbiel says that's not good enough.
"If it's 45 degrees and I'm in Dane County, then I have to sleep in a 45-degree truck?" he asks. "I won't sleep well, and if I have to drive the next day, then I won't be safe."
The ordinance would not apply to the city of Madison, so Klingbiel says a driver looking to sleep will simply go into the city, instead of pulling over on the highway. "He's going to park on East Washington. He's going to idle his truck there and get a good night's sleep. So is this really a good idea?"