West Virginia recently passed a law limiting how long diesel-powered trucks can idle.

No driver or owner of a diesel-powered commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more may idle more than 15 minutes in a 60-minute period. Fines range from $150 to $300 plus court costs.

Exceptions include:
* when a vehicle idles while forced to remain motionless because of highway traffic, or when the vehicle is at a traffic signal
* at the direction of a law enforcement official
* when a vehicle must idle to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners or cargo refrigeration equipment, or to install equipment or to prevent a safety or health emergency.
* an occupied vehicle with a sleeper-berth compartment that idles for purposes of air conditioning or heating during a rest or sleep period and the outside temperature at the location of the vehicle is less than 40 degrees or greater than 75 degrees at any time during the rest or sleep period. This exemption expires May 1, 2011.

The bill also provides for an increase in the maximum gross weight limit and axle weight limit for any motor vehicle equipped with idle reduction technology.

Locations where trucks subject to the new law are required to load or unload or park will be required to put up a sign notifying truckers of the law.

The West Virginia Trucking Association announced its support for the new law.

"As an industry, we want to do our part to help to curb carbon emissions," explained Jan Vineyard, WVTA president, noting the association has been working to pass the bill for two years. "West Virginia's trucking industry has been very proactive in its approach to doing what it can to lessen its impact on the environment and to conserve our energy resources."

To see the full bill, click here.

CORRECTION: the maximum idling time was changed from five minutes to 15 minutes.