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Jeremy Ranch Elementary launches idle-free campaign to raise awareness

"Turn your key, be idle free!" sign outside of Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.
Megan Fleming Hytjan
Jeremy Ranch Parent Teacher Organization
"Turn your key, be idle free!" sign outside of Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.

Jeremy Ranch Elementary School in Park City has launched an idle-free vehicle campaign. The campaign aims to teach kids and parents how turning off their engines can positively impact community health.

Idling is already illegal in Summit County. According to the no-idling ordinance, idling for more than one minute is prohibited. However, there are exceptions for traffic, emergency vehicles and safety concerns.

To highlight this ordinance and raise awareness, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization launched an idle-free campaign in partnership with the Park City School District, students on the Go Green Team, teachers and other local leaders.

The campaign aims to educate students and parents on how turning off car engines can prevent health issues for kids and worsening air quality. Megan Fleming Hytjan is a member of the PTO and has a kindergartener at Jeremy Ranch.

“I have a daughter who has asthma. I know it's a huge issue with children in general, and just given children breathing faster, being closer to the tailpipes, everything else, it's just a really quick and easy thing that people can use to make an impact,” Fleming Hytjan said.

Along with reducing air pollution, being idle-free can save money. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality says 10 seconds of idling can use more fuel than restarting a car.

Fleming Hytjan said the school is taking an interactive approach to educate students. During an afterschool program, students monitored and measured idling cars. Students will retake measurements at the end of the campaign in a few weeks to see if their efforts are working.

“Our science teachers at the school are going to be running through some of that data with the kids.”

The Jeremy Ranch PTO hopes to inspire other Park City schools to launch similar campaigns.