Your idling car may be breaking the law

(FOX19) - Most of us like to warm up the car for a few minutes while we stay warm inside.

But did you know that when you head back out to your car, you could have a fine waiting for you? The law has been in place since 2004 in Ohio.

"I thought it was crazy, when you first told me I was like what," says Vestal Simms.

"I've been doing something very illegal since I've gotten my license," adds Katiria Edwards.

"People do it all the time, just out of convenience," explains Gloria Dewitt.

It may be convenient but even leaving your car unattended but running on public or private property such as your home, is illegal. Many guilty parties say they just can't stand sitting in a cold car.

"It chills you to the bone," says Gloria Dewitt.

"It's cloth and it's still really cold," adds Edwards.

"It's like you get in and you're chattering so bad and you're trying to drive," says Sherri Williams.

The reason the law is in place is simply because law enforcement want to deter auto theft, and this is an easy target for criminals to steal the vehicle or items inside.

"There's people desperate out there and they will break into cars so that's the risk you have to take," adds Simms.

"I think people want to feel like there's some trust in the neighborhood, where they happen to be for the moment that they can do that," explains Dewitt.

But there is an exception to the law - remote startup vehicles. This is simply because this technology allows the car to remain locked and you have to have the key to put the car into gear.

"It'd be nice, I'd like to have a startup car," says Williams.

"I have actually looked into it, it's a couple hundred dollars, but I'm used to it so I'll probably just keep doing what I'm doing," explains Dewitt.

So what's the damage for warming up your car while you're nice and toasty inside? Well it's up to the municipality but the maximum allowable fine is $150 for this minor misdemeanor. But some residents say they're fine with taking the risk.

"You have to have a warm car to make you feel like the day is going to be okay," says Edwards.

"You might have to give me a ticket, I'm sorry give me a ticket because I like it warm," adds Simms.

Cincinnati Police say it is in fact illegal but fines are rare. Often times they'll simply give someone a warning and give them a reminder that your vehicle or belongings inside could be stolen much easier.

A similar law is in place in Kentucky, but the fines vary depending on the department. In Indiana, it's up to each individual jurisdiction.

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