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MetroMPG 06-04-2008 06:13 PM

Seeking info: Is it law to shut off at lights in parts of Europe?
A question for our European EcoModders:

Can anyone confirm (with links if possible) whether it's required or officially encouraged in some areas to shut off your engine at red lights?

This is something I've heard/read several times second hand, but I've never seen an authoritative source.


NoCO2 06-05-2008 10:04 AM

I've heard something about it as well (Germany I think, but idk) that they had to shut down if idling for more then 30 seconds or something like that. I'm not sure either, though, if it's law or just official encouragement.

AXMonster 06-05-2008 10:36 AM

Yes, there are signs at the rail crossing by my house encouraging drivers to switch their engines off.

I also kill the engine at lights that have just turned red as I approach (I shut off as I approach :))

Bearleener 06-05-2008 12:03 PM

Yes, in Germany, per Paragraph 30 of the StVO (Road Traffic Ordinance) it's not allowed to let a vehicle's engine run unnecessarily. This is a part of all driver's education courses. Occasionally someone gets fined 10 Euros. Unnecessary is usually interpreted as "warming up" the car e.g. to defrost the windows before driving off; in traffic jams where traffic has come to a standstill for a longer period; at railroad crossings. People are usually pretty good about it, except for the warming up part. There's even sometimes a sign at railroad crossings with a crossed-out cloud of exhaust gas reminding people to do so.

A Q&A about this (in German):
The ordinance (in German):
Being Germany, they also specifically prohibit slamming the car doors too loudly or aimlessly cruising around town. And many trucks are not allowed to drive on Sundays. :-)

Since I always shut my engine off at stoplights I can hear what other people are doing. Now that gas prices are so high I can hear more and more often that other people are shutting theirs off, too! Yea!

Just for completeness, for what it's worth, here's a German interpretation of this ordinance:
Leider ist es noch nicht allen bekannt, dass man den Motor bei längerem Halt vor einem geschlossenen Bahnübergang abschalten muss. Das Schild mit dem durchgestrichenen Auspuffqualm steht eigentlich nur zur Erinnerung daran, dass dieses Verhalten durch § 30 StVO vorgeschrieben ist: »Es ist insbesondere verboten, Fahrzeugmotoren unnötig laufen zu lassen...« Das heißt, auch ohne das Schild und in ähnlichen Situationen muss der Motor abgeschaltet werden. Fahrschüler kennen die Fragen zur Energie sparenden Fahrweise, dieses Thema ist unter anderem Bestandteil der theoretischen Führerscheinprüfung. Die Gründe für das Abschalten: Lärmvermeidung, Abgasverringerung, Energieeinsparung.

JohnnyGrey 06-05-2008 12:13 PM

In another country I've heard, Sweden maybe, you have to shut off your engine at red lights unless you're the first car in line.

MetroMPG 06-05-2008 12:47 PM

Thanks very much for the confirmation, guys.

This will be passed on to a US newspaper reporter writing about eco-driving/hypermiling.

TomO 06-05-2008 02:04 PM

nice, more coverage and media to help influence local government laws about motor vehicle operation. :thumbup:

vtec-e 06-08-2008 06:42 PM

Theres a bit of talk about it in Ireland but nobody pays any attention to it. THE FOOLS!!!


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