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Wellesley School Committee opposes idling cars outside schools

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  December 6, 2013 03:55 PM

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Wellesley parents who are picking up and dropping off their kids at school should prepare to turn off their car if they intend to wait more than a few seconds.

Wellesley School Committee members voted this week to support promoting an initiative against car idling in the name of conserving energy and limiting pollution near children.

In Massachusetts, state law prohibits unnecessary idling, but the law can be rarely enforced. Under the new school committee vote, the board will help support Wellesley Green Schools, a group of students and residents seeking to reduce the town's carbon footprint, to put up signs around schools and send notes home to parents, said committee chair KC Kato.

Police officers are also sometimes outside schools to discourage parents from idling, Kato said.

The recent vote "reminds parents that one, it's the law, and two, we support it," she said.

According to the Wellesley Green Schools group, 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than it takes to turn a car's engine on and off, and restarting a car several times has little impact on the engine.

The group said that since vehicles often idle outside schools while waiting in a car line, pollution increases both outside and inside school buildings -- which children are much more sensitive to, as they breathe 50 percent more air per pound than adults, according to a fact sheet on the group's website.

The group also said that many people idle in their car for an average of 5 to 10 minutes each day, and that idling for 10 minutes uses as much fuel as it takes to drive five miles.

For more information, visit Wellesley Green Schools' website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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