Car Idling is No Idle Threat

the-shining-frozen-guy5min-54d39b6156653It’s winter. It’s cold; the mornings even more so. The wind chills your bones as you trudge out to the car. Your breath smokes inside the cabin. The ignition starts up; you hit the defrost. But, why sit in the frigid car when your home is nice and toasty? So, you leave the car idling to warm up while you wait comfortably inside.

WRONG! A lesson learned by one Michigan man this month – idling your car unattended may be illegal in your state.

Nick Taylor of Roseville, MI did what many of us do; he left the car running, in his driveway, while he waited inside for it to warm up. When he came back out what he found was a $125 ticket on his windshield. Although this sounds unusual, Michigan isn’t the only state to have such a law. Joining the ranks are:

  • Maryland
  • Washington, D.C
  • Virginia
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Colorado
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • South Carolina


Well, as cited by Roseville Police Chief James Berlin, it’s a public safety issue. Specifically, a running, unattended car makes easy bait for car theft. And the problem with that, Berlin notes, is car thieves “typically flee the area at a high rate of speed, [cops] have to chase, and that puts motorists and pedestrians at risk.”

Like most laws, awareness is usually a matter of enforcement (or lack thereof). And, maybe you just lucked out with a safe, private property. To the rest of us in ticketable areas, while this may seem preposterous, perhaps you can take solace in the fact that you’re also cutting emissions.

… Then again, I hear climate change is a Chinese hoax. So, maybe you should just buy gloves.