Environment

Rocker Billy Idol Is Face of NYC's New Anti-Idling Campaign

The new campaign is part of a larger anti-idling initiative that encourages citizens to report cases of idling

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What to Know

  • Rocker and environmentalist Billy Idol is the face of the city's new anti-idling campaign: "Billy Never Idles and Neither Should You."
  • Launching Thursday, the public awareness campaign encourages drivers to shut off their engines to reduce idling and increase accountability for commercial vehicles, while also encouraging those who see someone idling to report them
  • The legendary rocker known for such 80s hits as "Mony Mony" and "Rebel Yell" was on hand outside City Hall alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio to kick off the campaign

Billy Idol's famous sneer is now being directed at those who idle inside their vehicles on the streets of New York City.

The rocker and environmentalist is the face of the city's new anti-idling campaign: "Billy Never Idles and Neither Should You."

Launching Thursday, the public awareness campaign encourages drivers to shut off their engines to reduce idling and increase accountability for commercial vehicles, while also encouraging those who see someone idling to report them.

The legendary rocker known for such 80s hits as "Mony Mony" and "Rebel Yell" was on hand outside City Hall alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio to kick off the campaign.

"My fellow New Yorkers, let's do this together. Let's do this right. Do the right thing and we'll all be better off," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the campaign launch. "If you don't do the right thing and your idling, we're coming for you."

The campaign is part of a larger anti-idling initiative aimed at boosting public awareness on the harmful effects of idling, expanding enforcement of anti-idling laws and encouraging individuals to file citizen complaints.

“Billy Idol never idles and neither should you,” de Blasio said. “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.”

The $1 million ad campaign throughout New York City, features Billy Idol and his message "Billy Never Idles, Neither Should You. Shut your engine off." The campaign includes 12 high-profile billboard locations, gas station TV, radio and multiple social media platforms (hashtag #billyneveridles), as well as LinkNYC and NYC TaxiTV, exposure. There will also be placement on city fleet vehicles equipped with anti-idling and emission control technology.

"When I heard about this campaign it just made sense," the rocker said. "It's amusing but also very serious."

Additionally, the city plans to add seven air and noise inspectors to the Department of Environmental Protection to help process the increased complaints.

“I love New York City and I’m delighted to lend my support to a campaign benefiting 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. Shut it off New York!” the rocker said.

In 2018, DEP began a “Citizens Air Complaint Program” where individuals who witness and record a truck or bus idling can file a complaint online with DEP and collect 25% of the penalty, $87.50 of a $350 fine.

Two thousand complaints poured in last year. The city paid out a total of $175,000 dollars in rewards to those who filed complaints, but no one collected more than George Packenham.

The Upper West Side resident collected $16,759.

Packenman helped convinced the city to allow citizens to record three minutes of cell phone video, then upload it as video proof they've busted an idler.

Idling for longer than three minutes or more than one minute while adjacent to a school is illegal. The city urges those who witness a vehicle idling illegally, you can potentially receive a reward for your enforcement efforts through our Citizens Air Complaint Program.

Overall air quality in New York City has improved dramatically over the last decade, according to city officials. The improvement comes due to city regulations phasing out the use of the most polluting home heating oils, the city officials say. However, emissions from the transportation sector continue to contribute a significant amount of pollution to the air. 

According to de Blasio, if New Yorkers stop idling that would be the equivalent of taking 18,000 vehicles off the roads every day.

Copyright NBC New York
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