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;
    • for airport airside operations requirements.
  • Idling as needed for the health or safety of a driver or passenger, including police K-9 or other service animals.
  • Idling as needed for authorized emergency or law enforcement vehicles to operate equipment.  
  • Idling as needed for repair, maintenance, or inspection of the vehicle.
  • Idling as needed for the period recommended by the manufacturer for efficient operations of a turbocharged heavy duty vehicle. This includes building air pressure in air brake systems, among other requirements. 
  • Idling as needed to operate auxiliary equipment for which the vehicle was primarily designed or equipped, such as: emergency equipment, refrigeration unit, lift, crane, pump, drill, hoist, or ready mixed equipment, except a heater or air conditioner.

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