Environmentalist rock star Billy Idol is playing on his world-renowned name to discourage New Yorkers from letting their cars idle unnecessarily.
Idol joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to launch a new anti-idling advertising and publicity campaign as part of a larger anti-idling initiative aimed at boosting public awareness on the harmful effects of idling, expanding enforcement of anti-idling laws, and encouraging individuals to file citizen complaints.
In 2018, DEP began a “Citizens Air Complaint Program” where individuals who witness and record a truck or bus idling can file a complaint online with DEP and collect 25% of the penalty, $87.50 of a $350 fine. Launching today, the public awareness campaign encourages drivers to shut off their engines to reduce idling and increase accountability for commercial vehicles. Additional information can be found at the “Billy Never Idles” website.
“Billy Idol never idles and neither should you,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It chokes our air, hurts the environment, and is bad for New York. We’re sending a loud message with a Rebel Yell: turn off your engines or pay up.”
“I love New York City and I’m delighted to lend my support to a campaign benefitting our environment,” added Mr. Idol. “Like most New Yorkers, I‘m troubled when I see cars and trucks sitting idle while polluting our neighborhoods. New Yorkers are some of the most hardworking, passionate people in the world and I hope they will join me in turning off their engines. SHUT IT OFF, NEW YORK!”
Idol attended multiple events in New York City last week to kick-off the ad campaign, featuring him and his message: “Billy Never Idles, Neither Should You; Shut your engine off.”
The effort includes 12 high-profile billboard locations, gas station TV, radio and multiple social media platforms (hashtag #BillyNeverIdles), as well as LinkNYC and NYC TaxiTV, exposure and placement on City fleet vehicles equipped with anti-idling and emission control technology.
The city will also be adding seven air and noise inspectors to the Department of Environmental Protection to help process the increased complaints. These inspectors will focus on verifying and compiling citizen complaint filings sent to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and help increase inspections of priority zones identified by 311. This builds on the efforts of Local Law 58 of 2018, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, which expanded the citizen enforcement program.
The eight priority zones identified thus far are Chinatown, Port Authority, World Trade Center, Fulton Street, Richmond Terrace, Flushing, Roosevelt Avenue, and Commercial Fordham Road. These zones will see an expansion of NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents to educate drivers on the city’s laws surrounding idling.
These efforts will be overseen by an interagency task force comprised of individuals from the NYPD, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, and Department of Transportation. The task force will convene for the first time in the coming weeks to discuss further tactics to curb idling pollution.
Overall air quality in New York City has improved dramatically over the last decade, primarily driven by the City’s regulations phasing out the use of the most polluting home heating oils. However, emissions from the transportation sector, primarily cars, buses, and trucks, contribute a significant amount of pollution to the air across the five boroughs.
Every year, motor vehicles contribute approximately 11% of the local fine particulate matter and 28% of the nitrogen oxide emissions. High levels of fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide continue to be observed in areas of high traffic density, building density, and industrial areas, including the South Bronx, Western Queens and Northern Brooklyn. These pollutants have been linked to adverse health outcomes, including an exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
“We need an all hands on deck approach to stop idling throughout New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “That includes increasing enforcement, changing the behavior of our drivers, doubling down on our public education of the harmful effects of idling, and yes, enlisting the help of a rock star to ensure sure drivers remember to shut off their engine.”
(WATCH the ad video below)
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