Avoid a major driving mistake at the school gates or face a big fine

The vehicle accessory company CarMats.co.uk has warned drivers against keeping their engine running as they drop their children off at school.

As many parents and children prepare for the new school year, motorists may have forgotten the environmental and economical issues leaving their car idling may cause.

Ash Young, the founder of CarMats.co.uk explained how leaving a vehicle running unnecessarily creates more pollution than most expect.

He said: “The act of ‘idling’ is leaving a vehicle’s engine running whilst the vehicle is not in motion, which pumps toxic carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air.

“Idling for just ten seconds produces more fuel and emissions that contribute to climate change than stopping or restarting your engine.”

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Many cars sold today feature a start/stop function which can automatically shut off the engine temporarily when it is stationary, and quickly re-engage it when the accelerator pedal is pressed.

Drivers of vehicles without start/stop have been advised that they should turn their vehicle’s engine off if they are at a standstill.

However, physically turning the engine off and on could lead to excessive battery wear, particularly if it is over five years old.

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However, in addition to any environmental damage that may be caused by leaving an engine running, CarMats.co.uk also warned that it could also lead to fines.

If police spot a driver leaving their vehicle’s engine running whilst parked outside a school, they can be fined up to £80.

Additionally, unnecessary idling could also lead to a fixed penalty notice of £20, doubling to £40 if it is left unpaid.

However, some are calling on the Government to increase this fine in a bid to improve air quality in built up areas.

In 2021, Nickie Aiken, the MP for Westminster, stated that larger fines may make more motorists aware of the law.

She explained: “From my experience, when I introduced the ‘don’t be idle’ campaign as a council leader, the vast majority of drivers who are asked to turn off their engines do so.”

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