On March 23, 2007, the Dallas City Council signed off on the anti-idling ordinance, which went into effect October 1, 2007, and penalized vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds from idling for more than five minutes between April 1 and October 31 -- the so-called "ozone season." Drivers caught idling longer than five minutes are punished with a fine that can't top $500. But as far as the city's concerned, idling of "heavy-duty vehicles" is a "major contributor to the ozone problem in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," and the current law isn't tough enough, which is why city staff has been looking at refining the ordinance.
Says a memo Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan sent to council Friday, staff's been researching making the ordinance year-round, and lightening the load from 14,000 pounds to 6,000 pounds. Problem is, the current ordinance is the same as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's -- and if they city passed its do-over, then that would make Dallas's anti-idling laws stricter than the state's. And that's a no-go. TCEQ is considering going year-round, but not dropping the weight requirement. Jordan's memo to the council explaining all the what-the-whats follows.