Reduced Idle Policy
Reduction in idle time is needed for several reasons. The primary reasons for a reduced idle time policy are:
- Reduced Idle Pre-trips
- Reduced Fuel Consumption
- Reduced Pollution
- Reduced engine damage
- Increased Security
- Destination Policies
- Customer Service
Reduced Idle Pre-trips help reduce all item on this list. It is proven that MODERN diesel engines are damaged when the engine is run longer than 20 seconds at idle. A reduced idle pre-trip is recommended, follow these simple steps to reduce your pre-trip idle time:
- Turn on batteries and open the vehicle as necessary (passenger compartment, engine compartment and any other areas required by policy to inspect).
- Check required fluids, belts, holding tanks and securement devices visually as needed. Check lights, flashers, tires and all other required pre-trip items.
- Login to your ELD device as needed to allow the engine to be started.
- Start the engine, place in “High Idle” and allow air pressure to build up as needed.
- While air pressure is building, exit vehicle to check operation items and inspect engine as needed while it is running.
- Re-enter passenger/driver area and check the HVAC, lights, Entertainment system.
- Shute the engine off with ignition in “ON” position and perform your brake bleed down test.
- Re-start engine, engage “High Idle” and let air pressure build back up to operational levels, conduct your Brake tests in gear as prescribed.
- Shut engine off until time to roll.
It has been proven that the vehicle will either warm up (engine temp) or cool (air conditioning) down more efficiently while the vehicle is in motion. It is recommended that you drive the vehicle slowly as you warm up or cool down the vehicle. If you are out on above, and the need the vehicle cooled down in warm weather prior to loading passengers, drive the vehicle around the block to cool the vehicle prior to loading.
NOTE: When idling any vehicle, if absolutely necessary, you should leave the engine in the “High Idle” position to ensure good oil pressure and turbocharger lubrication occurs to prevent unnecessary internal engine wear and damage.
Reduced fuel consumption increases profitability and increased pay for operators
Reduced pollution benefits environment and provides added customer service perception
Reduced engine damage extends life of equipment and retains efficiencies for reduced pollution
Reduced idling provides additional security by preventing theft and potential weaponization of large and potentially lethal equipment
Some destinations prohibit idling to improve customer enjoyment of the destination. Resorts in high-temperature areas and ski resorts in colder areas are examples of destinations that may prohibit unnecessary idling
This area is of most concern related to idle time, how do you gauge what is appropriate idle time usage?
- If you have to idle equipment, it should be in “High Idle” mode to reduce engine wear.
- When trying to warm up or cool down a vehicle prior to passenger loading, rather than idling in position, you should drive the vehicle around the block.
If cooling is the issue, ask yourself this:
- Can you reduce the need for cooling by lowering the shades and opening the luggage bay doors?
- Would this create a security risk?
- Can you park the vehicle in the shade?
If warming is the issue, ask yourself this:
- Can you park the vehicle in the sun?
- Can you park the vehicle next to a building to absorb heat?
- What is the idle policy at the venue?
- Can you move the vehicle to drive and warm it up?
- Is security an issue?
Security concerns, if you have to idle the vehicle in place to warm it up or cool it down for optimum customer service, you must be in view of the operator entrance and control at all times. How do you balance this?
- If you are required at the bottom of the steps for loading or unloading, you are within sight of the entrance and controls.
- Do you need to load or unload the luggage? If so, you are not in sight of the controls, so the vehicle should not be left idling. Additionally, you may need to educate your passengers about the safety and security related to a motorcoach, feeling them you will unload their baggage after they have unloaded may help.
- Are your passengers in a rush? Letting them know the boarding and unloading requirements as the luggage loading requirements may help them understand the need for patience.
The decision to idle or not is up to the operator of the equipment. Exposing yourself to potential harm should be a consideration. Your environment and the potential security risks should also be considered when determining how you choose to idle the equipment. All new ELD systems are required to be tied to the engine management system, and idle time metrics are recorded and will be reviewed on a case by case and driver by driver basis. If you choose to continuously idle your equipment for an extended period of time and have no viable reason for doing so, you may be exposed to disciplinary steps up to and including immediate termination. If your vehicle is stolen while idling, you will be subject to severe disciplinary actions.
Comments or corrections are appreciated.