Is it illegal to warm up your car in the winter in Ohio? That depends

Is it illegal to warm up your car in the winter in Ohio? That depends
Warming up your car as temperatures start to plummet is something plenty of people do as they finish their morning routine. (Source: Pixabay)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Warming up your car as temperatures start to plummet is something plenty of people do as they finish their morning routine.

But is it illegal to do so in the state of Ohio? It depends, according to WOIO in Cleveland.

According to the Ohio Revised Code you are breaking the law if you start your car and walk away in some instances:

“No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the parking brake, and, when the motor vehicle is standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.”

The law was enacted to combat car thefts. But whether you can be given a ticket for a minor misdemeanor, depends on a couple of issues.

For one: where is your car? If it’s parked on residential property, you are legal (though it’s still a bad idea). If it’s parked on the curb in front of your house, in the grocery store parking lot or at the gas station, and it’s running with the keys in it, you are breaking the law.

So what about remote start? Many newer cars have the wonderful invention of remote start, meaning you didn’t even have to trudge out into the snow to get your car started. But is that still breaking the law?

When talking to WOIO, one police officer interpreted the notion of remote start as such:

“I say no, because the offense has two elements: stopping the motor and removing the key. You have one (not stopping the motor), but not the other (you have removed the key). The vehicle can’t be moved without the key being inserted into the ignition.”

Most states have some anti-idling laws inspired by car thefts or environmental concerns. Regulations vary on idling, mostly dictated by the temperature.

Cincinnati Police say it is rare for this law to be enforced. Often times they will simply issue a warning.

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