CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Warming up your car as temperatures start to plummet is something plenty of people do as they finish their morning routine. However, the common sight of idling cars has been illegal for over a decade in Ohio.
A law enacted in 2004 to combat car thefts says it is illegal to leave a vehicle unattended while the motor is running. Being caught walking away from your vehicle as the ice melts off your windshield could result in a minor misdemeanor.
The law precludes a clause for private property. Meaning idling your car in your driveway could also be a no-no in the eyes of the law.
From the Ohio Revised Code: "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."
Most states have some anti-idling laws inspired by car thefts or environmental concerns. Regulations vary on idling, mostly dictated by the temperature. In Connecticut a driver may idle if the temperature is less than 20 degrees. In Colorado, idling is OK for 20 minutes if it is less than 10 degrees outside.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau, More Drivers Losing Their Cars By Leaving Their Keys 2016 report
Cincinnati Police say it is rare for this law to be enforced. Often times they will simply issue a warning. A similar law is in place in Kentucky, but the fines differ depending on the department. In Indiana, it's up to each individual jurisdiction.
A study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau found that not only does Ohio have the fifth highest rate of car thefts, the number is rising. Since 2013, the number of cars stolen with keys inside has increased 31 percent.