Parked vehicles: More leaving engines running

More drivers are leaving the engines of their parked vehicles running despite it being an offence.

In the last three years, about 12,000 motorists have been issued advisories, warnings or offers of composition, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday. The total works out to 4,000 a year, far more than the 360 in 2012, he noted.

Of the 12,000 cases, 24 drivers had their offences compounded for $70, double the number between 2009 and 2012, an NEA spokesman said.

The increase surprised Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC), who had asked for the figures.

But the jump, Mr Masagos said, was due to increased complaints and stepped-up enforcement by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

He added: "Leaving the engine running when the vehicle is stationary results in fuel wastage and unnecessary environmental pollution."

Under Environmental Protection and Management (Vehicular Emissions) regulations, which date back to 1999, a driver can be fined up to $2,000 the first time and up to $5,000 for subsequent offences.

Mr Masagos said some drivers perceived, albeit wrongly, that they needed to warm up their engines before driving off, to get better fuel efficiency or help the engines last longer. But new technology has changed that, he added.

"Vehicle manufacturers we have consulted say that engines warm up faster to reach the optimal temperature when the vehicle is driven at moderate speeds on starting, he said, adding: "So I hope we'll move away from the old habits."

To raise people's awareness of the rule, the NEA has installed signs to remind drivers, and these are found at places where motorists often gather, such as carparks, loading bays and along roads near schools.

People who spot such vehicles may report them to the NEA, giving the vehicle registration number, as well as the location, date and time of the incident. They may call the NEA hotline on 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632), use the smartphone app myENV or send videos to contact_nea@nea.gov.sg

Rachel Au-Yong


What it should have been

Published on 03 March 2016

Yesterday's report, "Parked vehicles: More leaving engines running", should have said 2,700 advisories, warning letters and offers of composition, not 360, were issued in 2012. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'Parked vehicles: More leaving engines running'. Print Edition | Subscribe