Policy EEB: Motor Vehicle Idling on School Grounds

Exhaust from idling motor vehicles can accumulate in and around thebuses and pose a health risk to children, staff, drivers, and thecommunity.  Exposure to exhaust exacerbates asthma and existingallergies, and it can cause lung damage and respiratory problems. Long-term exposure is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer. Idling vehicles also waste fuel and financial resources.  The goal ofthe Massachusetts Anti-Idling Laws (MGL 90:16A and 16B) is to improveair quality by reducing unnecessary air pollution from idling vehicles. 

The Amherst Elementary, Pelham Elementary, and Amherst-PelhamRegional School Districts will comply with MGL90:16A which prohibitsmotor vehicles in Massachusetts  from idling for more than five minutesand with MGL 90:16B which specifically regulates the idling of motorvehicle engines on school grounds and sets more restrictive limits onidling in order to improve and protect air quality on school grounds. 

This policy will apply to all motor vehicles – school buses, vans,private vehicles, and delivery vehicles – on the school grounds of theAmherst Elementary Schools, the Pelham Elementary School, and theAmherst-Pelham Regional Schools.

Under MGL 90:16B and in this policy, the term “school grounds” meansin, on, or within 100 feet of the real property of the school whether ornot it is in session, and includes any athletic field or facility andany playground used for school purposes or functions which are owned by amunicipality or school district, regardless of proximity to a schoolbuilding, as well as any parking lot associated with such school,athletic field, facility or playground.

School Buses:

All school bus and school van drivers, whether the vehicles are ownedby the District or contracted vehicles, will obey the state law.  Thispolicy applies to all bus/van use including daily route travel, fieldtrips, and transportation for other extracurricular reasons that requirea school bus/van.

Exceptions to this policy are granted when running the bus or vanengine is necessary because of extreme weather conditions, whenrestricted idling would jeopardize student safety, or to maintain a safeenvironment for students with special health needs. 

The Superintendent or his/her designee will establish writtenregulations to implement this policy.  All bus and van drivers willreceive a copy of the District’s regulations, or equivalent educationalmaterial, at the beginning of every school year.

Delivery Vehicles:

All service delivery vehicles will turn off their engines whilemaking deliveries to a school unless delivering goods for which engineassisted power is necessary.

Private Vehicles:

All privately owned vehicles will turn off their engines whilewaiting to drop off or pick up students.  For activities requiring aprolonged stay at a school, privately owned vehicles should be parked. State regulations (540 CMR 27.04) allow a line of vehicles sequentiallydischarging or picking up students to idle only during the time they areactively discharging or picking up students.


There are situations when idling is unavoidable.  MassachusettsRegistry of Motor Vehicle regulations (540 CMR 27.04) include threespecific exemptions: when an engine is being repaired and operating theengine is necessary for the repair; when a vehicle is making deliveriesand associated power is necessary; and when the engine is used toprovide power to another device.

Signage and Notification:

The District will post signs, with the wording required by 540 CMR27.05, in conspicuous locations on all school grounds visible from atleast 50 feet away to inform drivers that idling is prohibited.  Asummary of this policy will be included in the School Handbooks.


MGL 90:16A , 90:16B
310 CMR  7.11 (1) (b), 540 CMR 27.00


Region Voted to Approve: 4/24/12
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve: