Idle-Free from the Start

A teenaged driver parks his car outside a convenience store and goes inside. His vehicle's engine is running and the vehicle is unattended.


What is wrong with this picture - one that occurs around Vermont daily? Needless fuel use and engine wear, energy waste, carbon emissions, violation of the law, and - another Vermonter who wasn't taught that unnecessary idling is harmful and wasteful.


Idle-Free from the Start educates new and future drivers in the significant benefits of idling reduction and efficient driving practices - from the start.

High School Teachers:

Science, Environmental Science/Club, Math, STEM, Health, & Driver Education


Make a positive difference in your school community, and beyond...

reduce greenhouse gas emissions • conserve energy • protect student health • save $$$ annually

comply with Vermont no-idling laws • raise student (and adult) awareness




Thanks to grants from the High Meadows Fund and the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont schools have an opportunity to participate in an enriching, cost-free educational program to raise awareness of the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling in the school community for the 2015-16 school year. Idle-Free from the Start, a component of the Vermont Idle-Free Schools project, is working with teachers to conduct 60 idling awareness and eco-driving sessions in classrooms at the high school level. The goal of Idle-Free from the Start is to educate young drivers (and the adults around them) to be environmentally responsible, fuel efficient and safer drivers.


Idle-Free VT director, Wayne Michaud of Bristol, is coordinating Idle-Free from the Start now into its third year, with over 2,000 students having gotten the message!

Teacher commendations for 2013-14 and 2014-15.


Idling does matter! The impact each driver can have by reducing idling and practicing eco-driving for the next 15 years can cut CO2 emissions by three tons and reduce fuel consumption by 300 gallons. Indeed, a University of Vermont Transportation Research Center vehicle idling study determined that Vermonters’ discretionary idling results in 36,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions (and consumption of more than four million gallons of fuel) annually. And, a State of Vermont Environmental Surveillance Chief states, "Exhaust from idling vehicles is a common asthma trigger at schools. By limiting exposure to tailpipe emissions, schools can help reduce their students’ risk of developing asthma and decrease the severity of symptoms among students who already have the disease.”


How it works


High school teachers interested in integrating an educational session based on vehicle idling into their curriculum, invite Idle-Free VT to provide one or more Idle-Free from the Start guest-lecturing educational sessions in the classroom. Typically, this would be a science, environmental science, math, STEM, health, driver education teacher, or an environmental club leader/advisor. Once school administration has granted approval, one or more sessions can be scheduled.


Guest-lecturing classroom session(s) conducted by project coordinator Wayne Michaud or Vermont college student paid intern*. Includes 40-45 minute PowerPoint and videos presenting information on vehicle idling, negative impacts of idling (health, energy, carbon, economic), when idling can be necessary, plus an overview of green/eco-driving practices that can increase fuel efficiency by 24%. Presentations also include handouts and a “quick quiz” for students, and one no idling sign (for schools not previously provided a sign by the project).


*Student intern employee of Idle-Free VT Inc. and insured under workers compensation and general liability policies.

2014:  Student paper on vehicle idling law in one of Springfield High School driver educator Kevin Anderson's classes.

ATTENTION: VDTSEA Vermont driver educators


Vermont Driver Training Course law:

Mandatory instruction on unnecessary idling of motor vehicles


Idle-Free VT, under the direction of Friend of VDTSEA member Wayne Michaud, has once again been awarded a grant by High Meadows Fund and the Vermont Community Foundation to conduct cost-free Idle-Free from the Start educational sessions in drivers education classes for the 2015-16 school year. Idle-Free from the Start satisfies Vermont's Driver Training Course mandate that "All driver education courses shall include instruction on the adverse environmental, health, economic, and other effects of unnecessary idling of motor vehicles and on the law governing prohibited idling of motor vehicles."


If you want your students to have a comprehensive and compelling presentation that exceeds the driver training

course mandate, a trained college level intern, or Wayne Michaud, is available beginning January 2016 to conduct guest-lecturing Idle-Free from the Start sessions.


Idle-Free from the Start features complete information on Vermont's no idling law and the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling, including health, environmental and economic impacts, when idling is necessary, plus an overview of green/eco-driving practices that can improve fuel efficiency by 24%. Students learn how to save hundreds of dollars annually while being fuel efficient, environmentally responsible, and SAFER* drivers. Included is a PowerPoint, videos, plus a quick quiz and handouts - in your driver education classes or for Parent's Nights. Presentations are 45 minutes.


The presentation Wayne offers grew out of speaking engagements at VDTSEA conferences since 2012 and a growing number of presentations with a growing list of driver educators - more than 75 sessions conducted as of November 2015. Additionally Wayne gave presentations at the 2013 ADTSEA annual conference in Portland, Maine before the NSSP (National Student Safety Program) and ADTSEA driver educators.


For the 2014-15 school year alone, we worked with 14 driver educators to conduct 48 sessions! For the 2015-16 school year, we worked with 16 teachers to conduct 46 sessions! SEE TIMELINE FOR DETAILS.


NOTE: We encourage VDTSEA driver educators to explore the Idle-Free VT website, which is an excellent resource for this information.


NOTE: As of July, 2016, Wayne Michaud, Director, Idle-Free VT, will no longer be giving these presentations in Vermont


To help driver educators and other teachers incorporate comprehensive instruction on idling awareness and eco-driving into their curriculum, the complete presentation developed for this initiative is now available for download below:

• POWERPOINT: Idle-Free from the Start - includes full notes and is editable

• VIDEO: Norwich, CT Clean Cities - To Idle or Not to Idle

• VIDEO: Dr. Gerald Davis idle free Interview short clip

• VIDEO: CAA Fuel Efficient Driving Tips

• VIDEO: How Start-Stop Works - Johnson Controls

• VIDEO: American Idle: Running in Place - Green Ninja Show

• VIDEO: Busting the Myth that Vehicle Idling Uses Less Fuel than Restarting the Engine

• HANDOUT: Turn the Key and Breathe Free

• HANDOUT: 10 Eco-Driving Tips

• HANDOUT: Idle-Free from the Start Quick Quiz questions (answers on PowerPoint)

Presentation time varies from about 20 minutes to 50 minutes depending on how much content is shown.


*Green/eco-drivers have a high level of awareness to traffic patterns and the flow of vehicles around and ahead of them, and avoid tailgating. This allows them more time to react when evasive maneuvers are necessary.


And speaking of safety, Idle-Free VT first and foremost cares about safe driving.

Teen drivers (and all drivers) are subject to the tragic consequences of  DISTRACTED DRIVING.