The process of “watching and telling”(otherwise known as snitching) is paying off for one New York man.

In 2019, former Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted the Citizens Air Complaint Program. According to the program’s website, the policy is intended to help cut down on idling emissions from gasoline and diesel motor vehicle which are known contributors to health-related impacts, including asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular harm. The policy is also an attempt to be a solution to climate change.

In order to provide an incentive to this program, local citizens who are willing to report commercial idle vehicles ( school buses, commercial fleet, etc.) can receive a reward in the form of money. The witness of these idle vehicles would have to record the time that it sits idle. If the vehicle is in a school zone, the witness would need to record it for one minute. If it is not in a school zone, then the recording time increases to three minutes.

To round out this process, a picture of the vehicle must be uploaded to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection portal accompanied by a sworn affidavit of the incident in question. The owner of the reported vehicles can be fined $250 or more. In return, the local citizen that reports the vehicles receives $87.50 per report or up to one-quarter of each issued fine.

The Big Payout

This was all the news that many New Yorkers like Donald Blair. According to NBC New York, he targeted idling trucks and buses in the Brooklyn area and received a $55,000 payout. As a continued effort, Blair is set to receive an additional $70,00 for his reporting additional vehicles.

As Blair said, “If you want to change someone’s behavior, the best way to do it is hit them in the pocket.”

Now totaling a whopping $125,000, Blair has now become the single most lucrative New York citizen to participate in this program. To date, New York has collected $2.3 million in idling fines.