Download: Consequences of Warming Up Your Car

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My name is Dominica and im on my way to school while my car is fishtailing because the weather is so bad

CLEVELAND — Starting your car then returning to your home or business while it warms up may seem like a smart idea.  The car gets nice and toasty and you can be more efficient with your time.

But what you’re doing may be illegal in Ohio other states as well.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, a vehicle may not be left unattended until the engine is stopped, the ignition is locked and the key is removed.

The law also states the parking brake must be set and the wheels should be turned to the curb if the vehicle is left on a grade.

Emergency or public safety vehicles are exempt from those mandates.

The law will remain in effect until 2017.  A violation is considered a misdemeanor.


  • Ricky Bennett

    they should do is outlaw loud exhaust on motorcycles, you can be pulled over for it in a car but a motor cycle can get away with it BS,

    the whole its a safety thing is BS also why would you need to hear a stupid motor cycle 3 miles after it passed

  • shawn

    A police Officer can not enforce city law’s on private property, as they need a warrant to step foot there, unless they are called by the owner, and if they enforcing housing code’s they must send a summons to the listed owner of the property. so if you in your driveway they can not issue a ticket because your car is not on a city street.

    • rightoh

      I’m pretty sure that “probable cause” allows police officers to issue citations (like a car running with nobody in it) and gain access to your property. I’m not saying that they would in normal circumstances write a ticket for a car running, but probable cause allows them to do it.

      Also, city, state and federal laws are all enforceable on private property. “Sorry, officer your laws to apply to me since I shot and killed that person on private property.” Another, non-extreme and less criminal, example of this is that many cities have laws against parking your car on your front lawn. This, again, is enforceable even though your lawn is private property.

      Why would laws be written if they were only enforceable on public property?

      • Jdub

        righto, your response is dumb, my mom has had her remote start car since 2002, so yes they were around when the law was written!

      • rightoh

        Jdub, sorry for the mistake in my hyper-extreme example. It should have read “your laws do not apply.” I regret the error.

        Also, I never mentioned when remote starts were around or if they even applied to this particular law. As mentioned numerous times previous to my post cars with auto-starts do not seem to meet the criteria for a ticket. Or were you replying to someone else’s “dumb” comment?

        My point is laws are enforceable on private and public property. Take a look at your city’s ordinances. You may be shocked to see how many laws are written detailing out how your private property can be used and how it should be maintained (fence height, law height, hours when you may use power tools, etc.) There are nuances to traffic laws like determining at fault accidents in private parking lots, etc… However, laws ARE enforceable on private property. And if an officer sees a car running, cannot see anyone in it, walks onto the property, sees a key in the ignition and confirms that nobody is in it the car then the police officer could issue a ticket. Is that right? I don’t know, probably not seems excessive and silly to me. But they *can* write a ticket the way the law is written regardless of whether the car is on private or public property.

    • Hector Hernandez

      wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I understand that your driveway is private property and I do not agree with this new law but if an officer is driving by and sees something illegal is happening as an officer they can issue you a ticket. Just because you are standing on your property does not exclude you from following the law, that makes no sense. Also I really doubt that law was put in place because to many vehicles are being stolen I believe the reason behind it was to lower emmissions and yes this law is stupid, I would love to see them try to pass a law like this in any city in Alaska. LOL!!!!

  • Tim

    I just love to read these responses… to have a laugh. It is amazing how low our society’s education level is. People show their ignorance of grammar, spelling and lack of common-sense so freely on these comments. Thank you all for the afternoon laugh…at your expense.

  • Carol L

    I don’t have a remote start, but I start my car in the driveway; the parking brake is engaged (every time I park the car; it’s a manual transmission) and I lock the car with my spare key so that I can return to the house and let the car warm up without someone driving off. Not everyone has a remote start, but should have a spare set of keys–not rocket science!

  • trmbn65

    Some older cars need to be warm before you will get full acceleration. Also, during ice storms, it is important to let the ice melt away before clearing off the car.

  • danny

    strange is says gov vehicles are exempt, well anyone that passed a CDL testing for that type of liscence to operate a vehicle, knows to never ever lave them keys in the ignition if not manning that vehicle, and as well, you never ever leave that vehicle unattended while it is running. why then, is it exempt form this law? strange, lol, ohio, kinda like, I can but you cant. yeah right

  • karen

    I have to wonder about some of these law makers.. look up dumb laws.. did you know you need a hunter/trappers license to set a mouse trap in Cleveland?? you really have to wonder about the people that are making these laws..

  • teri

    This is just stupid. Teach your children right from wrong. And if remote starters are legal because the car stays locked then why not just start your car with one key and lock it back then use the second key most of us have to unlock the car when were ready to leave. I use to do this but thankfully I don’t live in a city or a place that there’s a lot of car thefts. Beside if someone steals my clunker. Just a heads up keep it under 50 and don’t go to far it won’t make it. Lol

  • richard corrigan

    this is ohio and they cant catch the crooks robbers or murders so lets get the people that let there car run unattened that will make us a lot safer hey you know what we put these idiots in office plus when you have a remote start put on your car you pay tax that goes to the state so if its against the law return my tax money or your partners in crime profiting on illegal goods

  • wendy

    i have a friend who did that and when he went back to his car it wasnt running and he couldnt find his keys so he called the cops and after waiting a half hour for them to come that is when he found out the cops had his keys… they came by seeing the car running and they took his keys… i think it is all bull shit.

  • Chris

    This law has been around for years. As a Police Officer if you do it and the car is stolen, don’t call the Police. Plus some insurance companys will not pay if the car is stolen because you left the key in the car, and yes the law was written long before remote starters came out. Give sticky hands the window and they will take it.

  • Lawless

    The original code came out in the mid 70’s and the section about leaving your vehicle unattended probably hasn’t been updated since then. Chapter 4511 was amended in 2004, but the section about unattended vehicles remained unchanged.
    If you believe in corruption, this law was likely driven by PAC dollars from the insurance companies. According to the law, you can’t even leave your car parked in your own garage overnight with the keys in the ignition. If you choose to do so and the vehicle is stolen, if/when the insurance company gets involved and they find out the keys were in the ignition, they can/will refuse to pay.

    Also, the last part of ORC 4511.661 discusses what to do with your wheels if you park on a hill. It is poorly written – when headed downhill turn the wheels in to the curb; if uphill – away from the curb.

    From those of us being governed, the law seems to obviously need a revision; I would wager the insurance companies would fight the proposal. Additionally, our lawmakers probably have bigger fish to fry than worrying about people warming up their vehicles, sad but true.

    4511.661 Unattended motor vehicles.
    (A) 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.

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