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When I was a kid everyone walked to their bus stop for school. But it’s a different world today, where children require more supervision, and I see cars sitting at corners all over town during school pick up and drop off hours. What’s upsetting to me is how many parents are leaving their cars running while they wait at the bus stop.
Idling cars is a waste of fuel and is a contributor to air pollution. I couldn’t say it any better than the Department of Energy (DOE) which states on their website, “When you make an effort to turn off your vehicle, you’re on track to doing something better for yourself, your wallet, your environment, and your community.” Six billion gallons of fuel are wasted every year by idling according to the DOE. And air pollution causes a variety of serious health problems. That’s why at least 10 states and our Capital have laws against idling.
~Anti-idling campaigns around the U.S. have created idling-free zones around our schools so that you no longer see school buses idling in front of schools like they used to when I was a kid. This is great news, but the collective negative impact of cars idling at bus stops is a new problem. Do I think parents are choosing to idle out of indifference about the health of their children and the environment? No. I think most people idling at bus stops don’t think about it at all. I think they are simply not aware of the problems associated with idling.
So, please help spread the word that parents should turn off their car engines at the bus stop. Why not step outside of the car to wait in warm weather. Look for the shade of a nearby tree. When it’s cold outside, dress warm in the car. By the time the car heats up in winter, the bus will be there anyway. My friend Ann-Marie, who does think about idling, told me she keeps a blanket in the car to keep warm at the bus stop in winter. What a great idea! Pass it on!
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