Exhaust from idling motor vehicles can accumulate in and around the buses and pose a health risk to children, staff, drivers, and the community. Exposure to exhaust exacerbates asthma and existing allergies, 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 of the Massachusetts Anti-Idling Laws (MGL 90:16A and 16B) is to improve air quality by reducing unnecessary air pollution from idling vehicles.
The Amherst Elementary, Pelham Elementary, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts will comply with MGL 90:16A which prohibits motor vehicles in Massachusetts from idling for more than five minutes and with MGL 90:16B which specifically regulates the idling of motor vehicle engines on school grounds and sets more restrictive limits on idling 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 the Amherst Elementary Schools, the Pelham Elementary School, and the Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools.
Under MGL 90:16B and in this policy, the term “school grounds” means in, on, or within 100 feet of the real property of the school whether or not it is in session, and includes any athletic field or facility and any playground used for school purposes or functions which are owned by a municipality or school district, regardless of proximity to a school building, as well as any parking lot associated with such school,athletic field, facility or playground.
All school bus and school van drivers, whether the vehicles are owned by the District or contracted vehicles, will obey the state law. This policy applies to all bus/van use including daily route travel, field trips, and transportation for other extracurricular reasons that require a school bus/van.
Exceptions to this policy are granted when running the bus or van engine is necessary because of extreme weather conditions, when restricted idling would jeopardize student safety, or to maintain a safe environment for students with special health needs.
The Superintendent or his/her designee will establish written regulations to implement this policy. All bus and van drivers will receive a copy of the District’s regulations, or equivalent educational material, at the beginning of every school year.
All service delivery vehicles will turn off their engines while making deliveries to a school unless delivering goods for which engine assisted power is necessary.
All privately owned vehicles will turn off their engines while waiting to drop off or pick up students. For activities requiring a prolonged stay at a school, privately owned vehicles should be parked. State regulations (540 CMR 27.04) allow a line of vehicles sequentially discharging or picking up students to idle only during the time they are actively discharging or picking up students.
There are situations when idling is unavoidable. Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle regulations (540 CMR 27.04) include three specific exemptions: when an engine is being repaired and operating the engine is necessary for the repair; when a vehicle is making deliveries and associated power is necessary; and when the engine is used to provide 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 at least 50 feet away to inform drivers that idling is prohibited. A summary of this policy will be included in the School Handbooks.
Region Voted to Approve: 4/24/12
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve: