Billy Idol joins Mayor de Blasio in anti-idling message

February 28, 2020

Image courtesy of the Office of the Mayor

Motorists are getting a new warning: If you idle on New York City’s streets you’ll get a fine from the city–and a snarl from rocker Billy Idol. The mayor’s penchant for geeky dad humor and a dose of Gen X nostalgia make the collab a natural, and while it might sound as if it’s aimed at slackers in city government, the fresh and direct message is meant for the idling vehicles that befoul the city with noise and pollution.

Mayor de Blasio joined rocker/environmentalist Billy Idol Thursday to announce the new $1 million anti-idling publicity campaign as part of a larger initiative to raise public awareness and expand enforcement of anti-idling laws. The campaign also encourages citizens who witness and record a truck or bus idling to file an online complaint with DEP, for which they can collect 25 percent of the penalty, $87.50 of a $350 fine.

The mayor said in a statement, “It chokes our air, hurts the environment, and is bad for New York. We’re sending a loud message with a Rebel Yell: turn off your engines or pay up.”

For his part, Idol’s message was, “SHUT IT OFF NEW YORK! I love New York City and I’m delighted to lend my support to a campaign benefitting our environment. Like most New Yorkers, I‘m troubled when I see cars and trucks sitting idle while polluting our neighborhoods. New Yorkers are some of the most hardworking, passionate people in the world and I hope they will join me in turning off their engines.”

billy idol, bill de blasio, idling, pollution, environmentImage courtesy of the Office of the Mayor

The new “Billy Never Idles…Neither Should You” campaign reminds drivers to shut off their engines and helps raise accountability for commercial vehicles. Additional information can be found at

In addition to the ad campaign, the city will also be adding seven air and noise inspectors to the Department of Environmental Protection to help process the increased complaints, with a focus on eight priority zones identified by 311: Chinatown, Port Authority, World Trade Center, Fulton Street, Richmond Terrace, Flushing, Roosevelt Avenue, and Commercial Fordham Road. These efforts will be overseen by a task force comprised of representatives from NYPD, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, and Department of Transportation.

Overall air quality in New York City has improved significantly in the past 10 years due in part to regulations curbing the use of highly-polluting home heating oils. But emissions from the transportation sector–cars, buses, and trucks–contribute a hefty amount of pollution throughout the city. According to a statement by the city, every year, motor vehicles contribute approximately 11 percent of the local fine particulate matter and 28 percent of the nitrogen oxide emissions, which have been linked to an exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Of the new campaign, Daniel Zarrilli, the city’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor, said, “Every New Yorker deserves to breathe clean air.”


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