Seven out of 10 believe a fine is appropriate punishment for those caught idling with their engine running


According to new research, almost three-quarters (72%) of UK motorists agree with fines for idling drivers.

When the RAC surveyed 2,130 drivers in the UK, a staggering 7 out of 10 believed that a fine was appropriate punishment for those caught idling with their engine running, with 44% of those saying council officials should make them switch off their engine and if they refuse, be issued with a fine.

On the contrary, 26% of those taking part believe that drivers who leave their engine running whilst parked up should be asked to switch them off without being handed a fine, whereas 2% think a fine should be issued with no warning at all.

Alarmingly, 88% of participants said they’d seen motorists parked up with their engine running, with 40% saying they’d seen it regularly and 48% saying they’d noticed it occasionally. At the same time, 7% said they’d never noticed it and 5% were unsure.

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Almost three-quarters of UK motorists agree with fines for idling drivers. © Copyright Philip Barker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

From the vehicles being found doing this, 30% were in cities and towns but more alarmingly, 26% were outside schools.

However, more encouragingly, was the fact that 55% of those taking part in the survey said they were more worried about the impact on the environment from vehicle emissions and the health of the public than they were three years ago, whereas 41% said their worry level had stayed the same, whilst 4% has less concern.

The respondents were then asked if they would turn off their engines for a few minutes whilst parked at different locations, with 64% saying they would if parked up outside a school, 62% parked on the side of an urban road, 53% outside a shop and the same (53%) if parked in an urban car park.

When it came to traffic though, attitudes were much different, as 29% said they would not switch off their engine no matter how long they had to stop for in a queue.

“Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so. Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders. This is no doubt needed to bring about a change in behaviour,” said Nicholas Lyes, head of policy at the RAC.

Mr Lyes believes: “The presence of enforcement officers and ‘no engine idling’ signs, complete with penalties, must be the next step in making our urban environments better for everyone who lives, drives and works in them.”



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