The parents whom Ann C. Turpin observed idling their vehicles while waiting to pick up their children at school ["Idle Pollution Outside a Bethesda School," letters, Feb. 10] may be surprised to learn that the Maryland Transportation Code prohibits idling for more than five minutes. This law applies to all vehicles, both regular gasoline and diesel powered. There is an exception for operating heating and cooling devices, but if the weather is mild, engines should be turned off. While the law is rarely enforced, those parents could be fined up to $500 for idling unnecessarily.
Parents should also consider that exhaust fumes may waft into areas where schoolchildren are present. In addition, the cost of the wasted gasoline should be considered, along with additional wear and tear on the engine.
All things being equal, it's a good idea to turn off your engine.
TERRY M. LEVINSON