Southampton Village is looking at a new way to reduce car emissions—and maybe even save taxpayers a few bucks in the process.
At a Village Board meeting earlier this month, trustees voted to adopt a new policy to encourage drivers to stop idling their cars. The policy, which was proposed and drafted by members of the Southampton Advocates for the Village Environment, is aimed to protect the environment and is modeled after a similar initiative the group had implemented in Southampton Town.
Under the policy, the SAVE committee is authorized to draft educational material for local residents and village employees about the benefits of living in an “idle free” community. The first step would be for village employees to turn off municipal vehicles to set a positive example for village residents and visitors. Also, signs would eventually be posted in the village, encouraging drivers to turn off their engines.
“This is a tiny, simple change, but one that makes all the sense in our village and in our world,” SAVE member Susan Dubner said during the meeting on June 25. “By doing this, you are doing the right thing for our community and will profit both figuratively and literally.”
According to Ms. Dubner, there are several dangers associated with engine idling, including poor air quality, increases in allergies, asthma, heart and lung disease and cancers. Idling engines can also have a negative impact on taxpayers’ wallets, with Ms. Dubner noting that only two minutes of idling is equivalent to driving one mile in terms of gas consumption.
The village plans to enforce the new policy by hanging sings around the village. The SAVE group also hopes to involve local schoolchildren in an awareness campaign to preserve the environment.
“It is a win-win strategy,” Ms. Dubner said. “We improve our health and environment while saving money and wear and tear on our vehicles.”