Sat, Jun 02, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Fines for idle vehicles take effect

BREATHE EASY:The fines aim to improve air quality by sanctioning people who leave engines running, but offenders were let off with a warning for first violations

By Lee I-chia and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

A member of the Taipei City Government’s Department of Environmental Protection holds up an ultraviolet heat sensor that is being used to catch motorists who do not turn off their engines after idling for more than three minutes. The law came into effect yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Yesterday was the first day that fines for vehicles left idling on the side of the road for more than three minutes went into effect, but warnings were handed out to drivers instead of fines at most inspection sites across the nation.

According to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), introduced on March 1 and which took effect yesterday, drivers of idling vehicles should turn off their engines if they stay in the same spot for more than three minutes, or else face a fine of NT$1,500 for motorcycles, NT$3,000 for small cars and NT$5,000 for larger vehicles.

In Taipei, the Department of Environmental Protection yesterday clamped down on drivers who failed to abide by the law around National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei City Hall and the Taipei Martyrs’ Shrine during the morning rush hour.

In response to complaints that the government of using the law to rob people, commissioner of the department Wu Sheng-chung (吳盛忠) said the department will remind drivers and give warnings before giving fines.

The department issued warning tickets to 88 drivers yesterday, but did not give fines, as all drivers switched off their engines after being reminded by the department staff, Wu said.

According to previous data on air pollution density changes in Taipei, the highest density usually occurs about 10am, after drivers head out for work in their vehicles, Wu said, adding that the air pollution often becomes worse in the summer.

The bureau said it would set 7am to 10am as its main inspection time, with eight tourist attractions, 12 frequently busy streets and 38 sections where violations were found during the grace period as key inspection sites.

The department is also paying more attention to possible violations at schools, hospitals and bus and train stations — where drivers are most likely to park their cars while keeping their engine running, Wu added.

Meanwhile, 43 warnings and non-imposed fines were given out yesterday morning in Greater Taichung, while more than 100 warnings were handed out in Greater Kaohsiung.

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