Engine Idle - 31st March 2015

Do You Know the Rules?

A recent article in the Daily Mail reported on fines that motorists face for leaving their engines idling. Although seen by drivers as another stealth tax the rule is in fact in place to help reduce pollution particularly in cities and is aimed at drivers who do not switch their engine off when parked and waiting in the car. Specifically pickups from schools and stations or dropping someone off at the shops. This is not intended to be extended to those waiting at traffic lights or in queuing traffic.

The fines will be introduced in two London Boroughs in May and it is expected others will follow suit, however, some councils have already been enforcing the rules for some time including Corby, Torfaen, Havering and Wandsworth.

Although this has come to light now, probably through better communication from the latest London Boroughs that have made the announcement, the rule has been in place since 2002 when it was introduced by the Government. There are rules in the Highway Code that address the issue of leaving the engine running when parked and in queues as follows:
Rule 123 states:
You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road. Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution. However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.

Law CUR regs 98 & 107

And Rule 239 states:

Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside:
• you MUST switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights

(There are also other points listed in rule 239 not printed here)

Both rules clearly state what a driver must or must not do when stationary and the information is easily found. An online copy can be downloaded for free at: so there really is no excuse for ignorance of the law and by reading it you may just find there is a lot more you didn’t know.

The onus really is on the driver to keep up to date with the Highway Code and the rules of the road if they want to stay within the law. Not knowing is no defence and knowing the rules may have saved many lives if all road users had kept up to date and obeyed them.  Every driver signs a declaration when applying for their licence agreeing they will do so, yet many don’t even have an up to date copy of the Highway Code.

Many issues that feature in our news section may be of concern to you as an employer if you employ company drivers. It is important that you, as a company, are fully compliant with your responsibilities to those employees.

Fleetrisk24 Ltd specialises in Work Related Road Safety and Workplace Transport Safety and can help you put policies and processes in place to address your transport health and safety requirements.

For information about how we can help, in conjunction with you, manage your at work drivers, either:
Speak with an advisor on 01732 864999 or, Email:

Click here to return to the news page...
Road Safety FAQ's