The outside of a generic yellow school bus, including the front top caution lights with the words "School Bus"

Help Protect Our School Children

Reducing idling at schools is important because air pollution affects children the most. Children’s lungs are sensitive and still developing; in fact, children breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults do. In addition, school districts can reap significant savings. When just one school bus driver cuts idling time by five minutes per day, a district saves 7.5 gallons of fuel each year, according to EPA. Imagine the cost benefits if all drivers simply turned off the ignition while waiting.

Five Rockwood School District students pose for a photo in front of a tan brick wall

Students at the Center for Creative Learning in the Rockwood School District, St. Louis County, started an idling reduction program. They passed out reminder cards to the bus drivers, wrote letters to parents and were instrumental in helping the Rockwood School District adopt an anti-idling policy to reduce idling by bus drivers and by parents who pick up and drop off children.

Heavy-duty diesel restrictions

Idling of heavy-duty diesel vehicles is limited in St. Louis, Jefferson, Franklin, St. Charles counties and the city of St. Louis. The Kansas City area includes Clay, Platte and Jackson counties. These vehicles must limit idling to no more than five minutes in any 60-minute period. Local ordinances may be stricter; for example, St. Louis County limits idling to no more than three minutes.

What You Can Do

Learn more about idling facts by visiting our Turn off the Engine. Protect Air Quality. Save Gas and Money brochure. You may also start an idling reduction campaign by visiting EPA's Reducing Diesel Emissions from School Buses and Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment. These sites provide toolkits, which include videos, sample policies, parent letters, pledge forms and other resources.

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