SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – September 15, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Utah’s school bus fleet is leading the way in 2015 to challenge parents to “Turn Your Key and Be Idle Free.” Brad Smith, Utah’s Superintendent of Schools, kicked off the campaign Tuesday afternoon saying, “Our school bus drivers are challenging parents to join them across the state in protecting the air our children breathe.”
In 2006, a group of Utah school bus drivers were the first to participate in a large scale case study of the benefits of reducing unnecessary idling. The results clearly showed a reduction in air pollution levels and a savings of nearly three billion gallons of fuel or about $10 billion dollars in gas costs each year.
The program quickly spread from three school districts to communities across Utah and in 2010 became a statewide public awareness campaign.
The Idle Free challenge asks drivers to get in the habit of “turning off their engines whenever they are idling for more than 10 seconds,” if it is safe to do so. Idling uses a lot more gas than simply turning off the vehicle and starting it back up. In fact, it’s estimated idling consumes about six billion gallons of gas each year to go nowhere.
Superintendent Smith called this, “the year of the challenge.” He said, “Parents we need your help more than ever.” It turns out that reducing unnecessary idling is one of the easiest things drivers can do to assist in Utah’s efforts to improve the state’s air quality.