Bill Will Allow NYC’s Environmental Agency To Pay For Spy Video Of Idling Cars

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Two Democratic members of the New York City city council will propose paying people to spy on other residents’ idling vehicles.

The bill, which Manhattan’s Helen Rosenthal and Queens’ Donovan Richards will introduce on Wednesday, will allow the Department of Environmental Protection to pay 50 percent of the fines levied against drivers who violate the city’s laws against idling cars, The New York Post reports.

All enterprising residents have to do to receive the bounty is film violators and submit the video to the city agency.

The forthcoming bill would increase fines for second offenses to between $350 and $1,500. First-time offenders receive a warning.

Fines are increased to between $440 and $2,000 for any subsequent violations within a two-year period.

Vehicles are currently allowed three minutes of idling time. That rule has been in place since 1971. The limit was recently lowered to just one minute for vehicles idling in front of schools.

“We can pass these laws, we’ve strengthened the fines…but the real problem is enforcement,” Rosenthal told The Post. “You’re obviously upping the interest by having people share in the fine.”

According to The Post, 325 idling citations were issued in 2002. Last year, only 209 citations were handed out. The city raked in $93,000 from those tickets.

“This is going to be the thing that makes the entire difference,” banker and anti-idling activist George Pakenham told The Post of the bill. “This will be just the tonic to have people engaged and earn a great deal of money along the way.”

Pakenham made a documentary in 2012 titled “Idle Threat,” in which he documented his run-ins with 2,900 with idlers over a five-year period.

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