Under new proposed laws, leaving your car idling while picking up and dropping off your kids at school could get you fined.

The proposed laws are part of a plan to cut harmful vehicle emissions and improve Australia’s air quality, The Age reports.

Health and energy experts have warned that increased traffic, combined with the modern preference for driving to school, risks exposing children to dangerously high levels of noxious chemicals, including sulphur and diesel particles.

A joint submission to the Turnbull government’s, Better fuel for cleaner air, says, children are especially at risk of being exposed to “high levels of noxious chemicals” as driving kids to school has become a preference for many parents.

“Schools and childcare centres are often placed on or near busy roads, exposing a particularly vulnerable subset of our population to daily pollution concentrations much higher than those reflected by the [general area],” the paper says.

Say NO To ‘Idling’

“Targeting schools with ‘anti-idling zones’ is a natural starting point in reducing acute exposures to children during their commute to school,” the submission paper says

Speaking to The Age, co-submission author Clare Walter said: “It always makes me laugh when I see parents outside schools strapping their children into the very best of car seats, and they’re European cars because they’re safer, and they’ve got the engine running and the doors open.”

“It’s not their fault, they are just completely unaware.”

The anti-idling push was endorsed by Our Children, Our Schools, a Melbourne-based public education campaign alliance.

“Car trips to school are a big contributor to morning peak-hour congestion and the air pollution that goes with it,” president Catherine Hall said.

“Our Children, Our Schools would support any initiatives aimed at reducing car idling, and therefore exposure to harmful emissions, at pick-up and drop-offs.”

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  • I can kinda see where there coming from, but think they’re maybe going over the top. Would be better off providing parental parking for safer drop offs


  • so start actually providing car parks for the parents to wait in, the parking at my children’s school is ridiculous and now that there are building works there the teachers are taking all the street parking


  • a lot of people will keep the car running because they sit in it and there is no shade and it is so hot! maybe some dedicated areas with shade would be helpful vs a fine

    • Yeah near my kids school there is no where to park at all


  • The rule at some schools is that children under a certain age have to be taken to the classroom and picked up from the classroom by a person aurthorised to do so. Next stage is they have to be dropped off at school + picked up from the school – not leave otherwise. At one particular school there is insufficient parking in the street the school is in and parents park in adjoining streets and walk if they have to pick their up from the classroom after school –not ideal if you have a young baby or a toddler still in a stroller in cold wet…or very hot weather. Some parents have to do the drop off / pick up system. I know of more than one if their child isn’t there ready to be picked up they go around the block and hope their child is at the gate the next time. The school is not going to set up a short term minding system to cater for children whose parents would then have to park their cars then pick up their child later. They don’t have any allocated parks on school grounds for parents who have newborn babies. They could issue permits for a set length of time. The parking they do have is fenced off. I think there is more cars in it than there is staff.


  • We live in a rural area where most of the students are bussed. My first reaction was this wouldn’t affect me because my kids are on the bus most days. But I have sat outside the school with the car idling because I’ve had a toddler asleep in the car seat with scorching summer temperatures. Its not a habit I have, but I do believe there are bigger road safety issues that need policing rather than timing how long a car has been stationery and running.


  • Well considering you can get in a lot of trouble for letting your kid walk or ride to school by themselves obviously driving is the most preferred method.


  • Think the problem is bigger. Not enough space at the drop off and pick up zone, not big enough car parks or no carparks at all, overcrowded streets with parked cars, inpatient parents and bad driving behavior.
    It’s good to work at reducing car idling I think.


  • I think parents need to take more time and be more patient at school pick up. It’s important cargo after all


  • Reading the other comments , they are going on about car seats. I thought the article was about running the engine while waiting for your child or dropping them off. All my children either walked it to school or were bussed if too far to walk. So this was not my problem. My youngest at the moment love mum walking them to school and I just have a treat to eat on the way home due to their age (4 years old) as the walk is 2.5 km long each way. Next year they can ride their bikes with me, just a bit hard keeping an eye on 2 4 year olds while riding.


  • At my sons school parents aren’t meant to get out of the car for drop off or pick up which is a bit hard when their in booster seats & you have the child locks on the doors engaged


  • ridiculous !!!!!


  • that is ridiculous all it will result in is people not strapping their children in properly! How about making a better car parking area at the schools? My kid’s school the teachers park close to the gates so no parents have the chance to park, address the parking and parents would have somewhere safe to buckle their kids in


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