Police can ticket you for warming up car while unattended

Posted at 7:07 AM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 09:51:46-05

If the cold weather has you considering warming up your car before getting inside, you may want to think twice because doing that could get you in trouble with police.

In Michigan leaving your car running, unattended with the keys inside is illegal. State law only applies to cars parked on public streets, but many city and local ordinances go even farther making it illegal to leave your car unattended and running with the keys in it in a parking lot or even your own driveway.

It's a lesson Nick Taylor learned the hard way after he left his car warming up in the driveway of his Roseville home. Taylor says he started the car and went back out five minutes later only to find a ticket on it. A picture of the ticket has gone viral and officers hope it will teach other drivers a lesson.

"If someone was simply walking about and they come up this car that's running they may not have originally thought about stealing a car but there's an easy opportunity now," said F/Lt. Joseph Thomas, Michigan State Police Post Commander for Lansing.

F/Lt. Thomas says doing that is also a pubic safety risk.

"If someone was involved in another crime and they wanted to switch vehicles and they came upon this car that was running its another easy opportunity."

The law all depends on whether the key is in the car. That means using a remote starter is OK because the key isn't inside and the car is locked.

"That way it prevents someone from immediately being able to get into the car," Thomas added.

In Lansing if you get a ticket for leaving your car running, unattended it could cost you as much as $115.