Engine idling is when you leave your engine running while your vehicle is stationary. People often do this when stuck in traffic jams, or waiting to pick someone up for a lift. Engine idling is bad for the environment; car fumes contain a number of harmful gasses including carbon dioxide, which can contribute towards climate change, not to mention other harmful gasses such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons that are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.
Rule 123 of The Highway Code states that drivers must never leave their vehicle unattended with the engine running, or leave the ignition running unnecessarily while their vehicle is stationary on a public road.
The police have the authority to issue £20 fixed penalties for emission offences and engine idling under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. Such penalties are imposed only if a person refuses to switch off their engine when asked to do so by a police officer.
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