DRIVERS could land themselves with an £80 fine simply for waiting in their car with the engine running under a little-known Highway Code rule.
It is illegal to keep a car engine idling under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
It is against the law to leave your car idlingCredit: Getty
The act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which says: “You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.”
Breaking this law can result in a £20 fixed-penalty fine, rising to £40 if not paid within the timeframe, and local councils may add an additional fine on top of this.
In London, for example, emission measures will escalate this fine to £80.
And you could get taken to court if the offence is deemed to be serious enough.
Car finance experts CarMoney has revealed the impact motorists reducing car idling could have on the environment and found that 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.
Marketing and Partnerships Manager at CarMoney Andrew Marshall said: “Now more than ever it is important to be aware of our impact on the environment.
“By minimising car idling on our daily commutes, school drop-offs and simply waiting in traffic, we can contribute less CO2 emissions.
“Aside from switching to electric vehicles or hybrid car models, motorists can be more mindful of their idling habits by switching off their engine if waiting for long periods of time.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so.
“Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders. This is no doubt needed to bring about a change in behaviour.
“You could liken the current situation with engine idling to that of taking your own carrier bags to the supermarket: everyone knew it was the right thing to do, but few of us did it until a compulsory charge was introduced.
“While the law is already in place for idling, enforcement is limited, if not non-existent. The presence of enforcement officers and ‘no engine idling’ signs, complete with penalties, must be the next step in making our urban environments better for everyone who lives, drives and works in them.”