Parking a vehicle and failing to turn off an engine can contribute dangerous emissions and pollution to an area and motorists are adamant they wish to see a crackdown on toxic fumes. A new RAC survey of 2,130 drivers has found 44 percent back a policy for officials to warn drivers to switch off an engine and then fine them if they refuse to do so. A total of 26 percent of those surveyed were more sympathetic and would only ask drivers to switch off an engine without added costs. However, two percent of those asked said they wanted officials to adopt a hard-line stance where motorists should be fined instantly without any warnings.
RAC data also shed light on the widespread problem of engine idling as 88 percent of respondents said they have seen drivers parked at the side of the road with an engine still running.
A total of 40 percent said they saw this regularly as a further 48 percent revealed they noticed this on an occasional basis.
More than half of those surveyed said they were more concerned about the effect emissions have on the environment and public health than they were three years ago.
The study also revealed two-thirds of drivers would turn their engine off if they were parked outside schools and 62 percent said they would if they were stationary in an urban area.
However, 29 percent of motorists admitted they would never turn off their vehicles if they were not moving in traffic while only 18 percent would do so if they were stationary for five minutes.
RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Leyes, said councils already have the owners to deal with engine idling offences but that enforcement is limited and in some areas non-existent.
He added: “It is clear from our research that the vast majority of drivers are far more aware of the impact of vehicle emissions than they were three years ago.
“They are conscious of pollution from parked vehicles running their engines needlessly ti the point they want to see local councils taking some form of acrid against those who do this.
“At the very least set would like a council official to speak to those who of it and ask them to switch it off.”
The data revealed there was a change in attitude between switching off an engine in urban and rural areas, with 48 percent of drivers saying they would in cities compared to just 39 percent who would turn a car off in the countryside.
Interestingly, this would not be done to benefit people’s health. With motorists revealing the top reason for turning an engine off would be to save fuel and money than to protect the health of individuals.
A total of 37 percent off drivers surveyed said they would turn an engine off to save fuel as 35 percent said this was for environmental reasons to help air quality.
In June, the government announced they would open up a public consultation to look at introducing tougher penalties and fines for those who idle an engine.
The consultation will advise authorities on the powers they have to stop engine idlers and to teach officials on how to deal with repeat offenders who ignore repeated warnings.
The government claims the plans would represent the biggest rule change since 2002 ad are part off plans to dramatically improve air quality through their Road to Zero initiative.
In a statement released in June, Former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are determined to crack down on drivers who pollute our communities by leaving their engines running, particularly outside school fares where our children are breathing in this toxic air.
“Putting a stop to idling is an easy way to drive down dangerously high levels of pollution, reducing its impact on the environment and our health.”