New Certification Program to help Vermonters go ‘Idle Free’
- By David Kestenbaum
The American Lung Association (ALA) in Vermont and University of Vermont Extension’s Certification for Sustainable Transportation (CST) program have launched the Vermont Idle-Free Certification. This new training program will help diesel vehicle operators and businesses in Vermont reduce or eliminate unnecessary vehicle idling. This launch coincides with Vermont’s new idle reduction law effective on May 5th, 2014.
According to the US Department of Energy, Americans burn around 6 billion gallons of fuel each year in the United States idling vehicles. About half of that amount comes from heavy duty diesel vehicles.
In Vermont, every one-minute per day reduction in idling of heavy duty diesel vehicles over the course of a year would produce an estimated savings of 127,750 gallons of fuel at a cost of $539,105 and reduce emissions by 1,298 metric tons of CO2, according to the Vermont Air Quality and Climate program.
The core of the certification program is an online training which can be completed in 40-50 minutes. The training concludes with a short quiz and a driver is then asked to make a pledge to be ‘Idle Free’, after the pledge the driver receives a ‘Vermont Idle Free Certification’. Although any driver can take the training, during this initial launch the program will be offered free of charge for up to 2,000 heavy duty diesel vehicle operators in Vermont.
The CST and ALA developed the certification course with the help of professional drivers from around the state of Vermont.
Area companies have already taken an interest in the program. Barbara Grimes, Burlington Electric Department general manager stated “BED takes its no idling policy very seriously. We will use this training course to make sure all our drivers understand the many reasons not to idle. We’re very pleased to work with UVM’s Certification for Sustainable Transportation program and the American Lung Association to keep our drivers healthier, the citizens of Burlington healthier and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“As a company that already has an idle-free policy, we were proud to be a part of the development of the Vermont Idle- Free Certification program,” said FairPoint Communications Vermont State President Beth Fastiggi. “This program is an excellent tool to help make Vermont businesses and individuals aware of the new law, prepare for it, reinforce existing policies, and overall help our state reduce environmental impacts and fuel costs.”
After completion of the training course both CST and ALA can offer individuals and organizations materials to help reinforce and promote the message over time.
UVM Extension’s CST program and the ALA would like to invite individuals and organizations whom may benefit from the ‘Vermont Idle Free Certification Training’ to be in touch. These groups include private citizens, municipalities, and private sector companies. For more information, visit www.erating.org or http://go.lungne.org/idlefree or call the American Lung Association at 802-876-6500.