Idling? Talk to the hand

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: STEPHANIE LAI
Doing your part to stop idling is as easy as turning your key. Idle Hands aims to raise awareness to exemptions to current idling bylaws.

Hands are doing the talking and will hopefully bring car idling to a screeching halt.

Media campaign and initiative Idle Hands is working towards gaining more attention to car idling, particularly exemptions to current bylaws.

Meghan Jeffrey, campaign manager, explained it further. “What people don't know and what Idle Hands' mission is to raise awareness on the fact that a mass amount of exemptions exist in this bylaw.”

These exemptions include fleet vehicles, city transport, police cars and delivery trucks.

Car idling is common practice, however the turn of a car key is the simplest of answers. “You waste more fuel by turning off your engine than by [keeping it on]. That's a myth 100 per cent,” said Jeffrey.

She says the initiative is small, but can make an impact. “It will save thousands of litres of wasted fuel and tons of money.”

The campaign features photos of peoples' hands, which Idle Hands will send to local politicians as a way to push for a change. “These people have a voice, and they're aware exemptions exist and they're aware that there are modern technologies in place to implement to vehicles.”

The new technologies she's talking about are fuel-efficient cars, which turn off when a car comes to a complete stop. “Car manufacturers are making the advancements to install proper technology in their cars [so] that idling doesn't exist,” she said. “[People] need to be aware that those exist.”

The campaign is relatively new — three weeks since inception — but Jeffrey said the response has been nothing but positive, particularly in London.

“It's been interesting in London to see people who don't know about [idling] — they subconsciously turn off their engines [because] they know it's wasteful, they know it's bad for the environment.”

It's also, perhaps, thanks to a convenience factor. “[People] think it's more convenient [to idle]. But the twist of a key is not that much of an issue; it just gets integrated into everyone's lives.”

To start off, Jeffrey is reaching out to youth. “They are the ones who are going to be on social media, they are the ones who are going to be active,” she said. “They have a voice, and people are going to listen to them because they're the future.”

Jeffrey and her team will be travelling across Ontario, reaching out to university and college students. “Young people are the future. They're going to be around for X [number] of years,” she said. “They're going to be the ones to care for the environment and are going to get these bylaws changed.”

To learn more, follow the campaign's Twitter handle @idlehandsONT as well as checking out its website, to learn more.