As Public Health England call for a ban on cars idling their engines near schools and hospitals with the introduction of "no-idling zones", part of a raft of measures to combat air pollution, George Monbiot points out that;
"Cars are already banned from idling, under the 2002 Road Traffic Regulations. The problem is a comprehensive failure of enforcement. A couple of fines outside each school gate would radically change attitudes. But where are police?"
Isn't it time for a crackdown on this with some sharp fines for the offending drivers? My bet is that some drivers don't even know that it is illegal so how about a big publicity campaign too?
I don't understand why changing behaviour has to be an issue of campaigns. The academic literature tells us that the vast majority of decisions we make are rooted in our unconscious mind.
On your subject of being ecological. We don't have time to sit down and make sure everyone cares. Have you seen the power of commercial advertising? I have no idea why I have crisps in my trolley. That doesn't make me bad, it makes me human. The first solutions need to be those which increase well-being, improve the environment and are commercially viable (benefits > costs).
Secondly, how do you measure if anti-litter campaigns work? What is the return? We have to be empirical and learn. Would you take a drug that had not been tested in a clinical trial? We need to know what works.
So on the matter of air pollution - which is a great point you make - if we are to reduce engine idling, we a) need to know where idling occurs accurately (the behaviours)and without bias (e.g. via sensors) and b) use these metrics in a clinical trial (Randomised control trial) where we can accurately measure whether our intervention (policing, or whatever) has made a difference or not. Everything else is guesswork and frankly carries a risk of further waste.
It would be interesting to see what impact no idling zones have or haven’t had. I don’t know if any literature exists about the effectiveness of current measures.
I suppose it can also be looked from the other end - what incentivises people to idle their engines? I’m not a driver so I don’t know what the perceived benefit is to someone behind of the wheel of a vehicle not shutting off their engine when they are not actually driving.
While I agree that idling is harmful, if a driver has to wait somewhere in Winter it's the only way to keep warm. That's the incentive.
Does nothing for the driver's feet :)
You asked what was the incentive, not what was the justification :)
Technical solutions can also help. Last year our car was rear-ended and we had an enforced change of vehicle. Our choice methodology was rather haphazard, but it resulted in our owning a car that has a built-in system to reduce idling. After the engine has warmed up, if you bring the car to a halt with the brakes, the engine cuts out, kicking back to life when you ease your foot off the brake. Not only does this technology reduce idling, it also rewires your thinking about idling.
With the current state of technology and technological advancement, I’m assuming that our next vehicle will be fully or significantly powered by non-oil means.
I've been asking people to cut their engines ever since we moved to Harringay. The responses are about 70% polite(ish) compliance (and I am always faultlessly polite myself), 25% grumpy compliance, and 5% who tell me to get lost.
If you care about the urban environment, I feel like it's a battle worth fighting, and that can largely be won. I think attitudes can be changed. Electric cars and stop-start systems will help greatly, too.
Although, I'm not sure humanity is at the forefront of car designers' minds. I recently drove a new BMW (a DriveNow car) and I was amazed at how incredibly poor the driver's sight-lines are. I'm used to a very old car, where the struts that support the roof are thin. On this car, the struts were about a foot wide. Those driving new cars are supremely well protected were their car to roll over, but unfortunately they have no idea what's around them. Pedestrians and cyclists, be aware. And the next time a driver nearly side-swipes you, remember: it's not their fault, it's just that they can't see much.
Yes visibility is getting worse, this one stunned me https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1486584/Driving-test-examin...
Not the first time. Driving examiners refused to test in one vehicle ( a Yaris ?? ) because they couldn't see the speedometer in the recessed angled binnacle.
Didn't hear about that one. Was it they couldn't see it from the passenger seat?
I'm less worried about that, than the disappearing to the A Pillar blond spot.