Stakeholders Help Defeat Washington State Truck Idling Bill

Proposed Legislation Modeled after California Emission Regulations
Traffic in Washington state
Traffic heading to the Seattle suburb of Mercer Island. A lobbying effort stopped in the rules committee a bill that would have modeled truck-idling provisions in Washington state after those in California. (peeterv/Getty Images)

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Trucking stakeholders in Washington led a legislative charge that helped defeat a state Senate bill that aimed to institute stringent truck-idling provisions modeled after California emission regulations.

“If it weren’t for us and our team of lobbyists working the issue and bringing stakeholders to the table, we would be in a different position today,” Washington Trucking Associations CEO Sheri Call told Transport Topics. “WTA pulled a group of impacted stakeholders together who met with legislators. Internally we began an outreach campaign among our members to engage them in contacting their representatives.

“By voicing our opposition from industry both directly and through member engagement, we were able to stop the bill in the rules committee where it was staged to be scheduled for a floor vote in the House after having passed the Senate.”

Sponsored by Sens. Marko Liias, Joe Nguyen and Patty Kuderer, the bill was introduced Jan. 25 but did not advance after being referred to the Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Liias.

Sheri Call


The legislation contained various broad proposals to spur electrification in transportation, including some targeting electric vehicle equipment installation, state electrification investments, fuel-efficient tires, zero-emission school buses and EV training.

Also included was an idling- prevention provision for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. This provision, which would have taken effect Jan. 2, 2025, aimed to change enforcement and penalties for idling of commercial motor vehicles with specific violations per vehicle type and by power system. Fines would have been levied from $300 to $1,000 per violation each day.

Call said the legislation was introduced by an interagency work group that established an EV council to discuss options.

“The work group conducted a series of meetings prior to involving the trucking community. By that time, they had adopted a draft document of policy recommendations coming from partner stakeholders to the EV council’s work. It was pretty clear the effort did not include significant feedback from trucking,” she said.

Consequently, WTA led a coalition with representatives of beverage distributors, public waste collection fleets and utility providers.

“My members are not just letting their trucks idle for fun,” testified Jan Himebaugh, managing director of external affairs at the Building Industry Association of Washington, who opposed the bill. “We’ve got hauling capacity for our trucks. We want to make sure we’re not conflicting with other things that keep our people safe on job sites.” She cited rules enabling workers to sit inside idling vehicles with air conditioning turned on to keep them safe from heat stress and work-related smoke at job sites.

Jan Himebaugh


Jeff DeVere, a WTA lobbyist, stressed that his state’s circumstances differ from those in California, and noted that simply enacting idling limits wouldn’t address larger issues truckers face.

“It seems we’re going to wholesale adopt those [California] rules without consideration to the environment that we have here in Washington,” he said. “We also need to start looking past just putting this [idling] on the back of trucks.

“Some of the idling is because we have inefficiencies in our supply chain process. I think that is something we should be looking at because trucks don’t want to idle. They would much rather be traveling down the road, delivering the products, making more money and getting the things that they need to people that want them.”

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