Salt Lake City


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Salt Lake City’s Idle Free Ordinance

Poor air quality is a significant public health concern for those who live in the Salt Lake Valley. Due to our geography, climate and growing population, air pollution is a persistent problem that contributes to respiratory issues such as asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, and impacts our overall quality of life.

Vehicle exhaust makes up over 50% of the air pollution in Utah, and unnecessary idling of cars and buses contribute a significant amount of emissions released into the air each day.

In the fall of 2011, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved a proposal from Mayor Ralph Becker to create the City’s first Idle Free Ordinance. The ordinance prohibits unnecessary vehicle idling over two minutes within city limits.

The Ordinance

Download a PDF version of the Salt Lake City Idle Free ordinance.

See the full Idle Free Ordinance online.

Key points of the ordinance include:

  • A time limit of two minutes for unnecessary vehicle idling.
  • The ordinance is enforceable on public property and private property open to the public (i.e. drive-through windows and parking lots).
  • Three warnings will be issued before any fines are levied. Once a fine is issued, the traditional parking fee structure applies:
    • Paid in less than 10 days – $15
    • 11 to 20 days – $55
    • 21 to 30 days – $85
    • 31 to 40 days – $125

Exemptions include:

  • Idling while stopped:
    • for an official traffic control device;
    • for an official traffic control signal;
    • at the direction of a police officer;
    • at the direction of an air traffic controller;
    • idling as needed to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment to prevent a safety or health emergency;
    • idling as needed for fire apparatus that must be kept running when outside to keep the pumps running and circulating water.
  • Idling as needed to ascertain that a vehicle is in safe operating condition and equipped as required by all provisions of law and that all equipment is in good working order, either as part of the daily vehicle inspection or as otherwise needed;
  • Idling as needed for testing, servicing, repairing, or diagnostic purposes;
  • Idling for the period recommended by the manufacturer to cool down a turbo-charged heavy-duty vehicle before turning the engine off;
  • Idling as needed to operate auxiliary equipment for which the vehicle was designed, other than transporting goods, such as: operating a transportation refrigeration unit (TRU), life, crane, pump, drill, hoist, ready mixed equipment, except a heater or air conditioner;
  • Idling as needed to operate a life or other piece of equipment designed to ensure safe loading and unloading of goods or people;
  • Idling to recharge a battery or other energy storage unit of a hybrid electric vehicle;
  • Idling as needed for vehicles that house K-9 or other services animals;
  • Idling by on-duty police officers as necessary for the performance of their official duties.
  • Idling as needed for heating/cooling when temperatures are below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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