Renter of a vehicle owned by U-Haul allowed vehicle to idle for more than three minutes. A passerby noticed a U-Haul-owned vehicle idling at 455 West 48th Street in August 2020. The U-Haul’s engine appeared to be running for over four minutes without movement. The passerby videoed the vehicle with audible engine noise as a person sat in the driver’s seat.
The passerby submitted the video as evidence along with a Citizen’s Air Complaint affidavit against U-Haul to the Department of Environmental Protection. If the owner of the vehicle is fined for an idling violation, the person reporting the violation receives a portion of the fine as a financial reward. The OATH hearing officer found the vehicle violated the law but dismissed the fine because the U-Haul Company was not the proper party.
The Department of Environmental Protection appealed, arguing that Chapter 1 of Title 24 of the Administrative Code that regulates emission standards. provides that the owner of the vehicle is responsible even when the vehicle is rented to a third party. The owner is not relieved of responsibility by a private agreement with a lessee.
The Appeals Board agreed with DEP and ruled that U-Haul to be an appropriate party. The Appeals Board upheld the violation and reinstated the fine of $1,000.
By: Candace Riggs (Candace is a New York Law School student, Class of 2023.)
DEP v. U-Haul Co of Arizona Inc., Appeal #2101034 (October 21, 2021)