Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Starting June 1, drivers who leave their vehicles idling on the side of the road for more than three minutes will be subject to a fine of at least NT$1,500 (US$50), the Environmental Protection Administration said Wednesday.
The fines imposed for idling vehicles will be NT$1,500 for motorcycles, NT$3,000 for small cars and NT$5,000 for large vehicles, according to the Air Pollution Control Act introduced on March 1.
The administration said more than 34,000 warnings have been issued during a three-month grace period at places such as schools, hospitals, and bus and train stations -- where drivers are most likely to park their cars while keeping their engines running.
"So far, the drivers have been cooperative," said environmental official Hu Ming-hui, adding that more drivers are shutting off their engines voluntarily since fuel prices rose in early April.
Hu said law enforcement authorities will have some flexibility in handing out tickets once the law is enforced after June 1.
For instance, he said, there could be exemptions for those with senior citizens or physically challenged people in the car because they might need to keep the engine running to keep the car air-conditioned.
"Our aim is to promote a healthier lifestyle, not to fine people," Hu said.
The administration estimated that if drivers can cut down their idling time by 30 minutes per day, about 640 liters of gas, 54.8 kilograms of carbon monoxide and 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide could be saved per car each year.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)