GEM urges motorists to curb certain behaviour

Allowing your engine to idle for long periods of time while in your car, isn’t illegal, but shouldn’t be practiced often. There several health and environmental concerns that are associated with vehicle exhaust gases. While idling, their exhaust pipes spew out harmful pollutants including soot and carbon monoxide that are not conducive to healthy living.

Idling is a term given to the practice of leaving a vehicle’s engine running while stationary without any immediate plans of setting off. It is something many of us have been guilty of on several occasions. And though we invoke rational reasoning to convince ourselves that it is acceptable behaviour, that simply isn’t true.

GEM Motorist Assist, a road safety and breakdown organisation in the UK has taken it upon themselves to urge motorists to curb this particular habit. They say that not only is it bad for health, but can cause a significant dent in your monthly petrol expenses.

Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said, “We ask drivers to think twice before sitting stationary in their vehicle with the engine running. By switching off you will be helping to improve air quality, reducing your carbon footprint and complying with the law.”

Adding to that, the company also states this problem is a contributing factor to the 40,000 air pollution-related deaths in the UK each year. The magnitude of this problem led the UK government to ban this practice several decades ago.

According to section 42 of the UK Road Traffic Act 1988, as made clear by Rule 123 of the Highway Code, Leaving a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while stationary on a public road can land you with a RM110 penalty charge notice. And they take these rules very seriously over there.

Unlike the UK, Malaysians have to deal with appalling weather conditions. As such, many are forced to keep the engine and A/C running to ensure that they don’t cook themselves. That said, it’s still an avoidable practice as long as you are able to plan your journeys well and take a break at petrol stations with R&R facilities.

This way, your car gets the rest it deserves, considerable amount of fuel is saved, and you get to cool off in an air conditioned rest area that serves food and beverages. It’s a win-win situation that can benefit all parties, including Mother Nature.