State Law Says Idling Cars Illegal


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TheFederalistWeasel
March 9, 2007, 05:14 PM
Oh it gets good just keep reading...

You see it all the time, someone runs into the gas station to grab a cup of coffee and leaves their car running. Bibb County deputies say that's just asking for someone to steal it and it's against the law. Now police around the state are using an old law to crack down on car thefts.

Police in Forest Park, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, say they warned people repeatedly about leaving their cars running unattended. They went door to door, left fliers and even handed out warnings. But when people didn't listen, they started ticketing them. Bibb County deputies say they don't blame them.
Jan Ledford spends her mornings serving up donuts to Central Georgians but in between customers she says she catches people running into the shop leaving their cars running outside.

JAN LEDFORD, MACON:
"Then they keep turning around looking to make sure their car ain't gone nowhere."

She sees about 20 people do it every morning. It's a time saving move but it's illegal in Georgia.

CHARLES SCOTT, MACON:
"I don't think a lot of people are aware of it because I see it a lot of times."
It's a habit Krispy Kreme regular Tommy Higdon just can't shake. Higdon says the move saves on gas but getting slapped with a ticket could cost him a lot more. Police in Forest Park fine offenders $168.

CHARLES SCOTT, MACON:
"Ooh that's a lot. I think they better start taking the keys out!"
To Ledford, the time saved isn't worth the car she'd lose if someone took off with it.

JAN LEDFORD, MACON:
"Hey, I'm proud of my car and I ain't fixin to get out and leave it running!"
Assistant Solicitor-General Rebecca Grist says she's never seen a ticket issued for an unattended running car, but that doesn't mean a judge wouldn't take the violation seriously.

REBECCA GRIST, ASST. SOLICITOR GENERAL:
"It is on the books so if a ticket were written for this we would certainly prosecute it."

JAN LEDFORD, MACON:
"They're still going to do it because they think, 'well I can't get caught.' Maybe they can't."

Lieutenant George Meadows says car thefts are a big problem in Bibb County. He says they often happen at convenience stores and gas stations where people leave their cars running.

Meadows also says it takes someone just seconds to take off with a running car so he hopes the law will be a deterrent.
The law against leaving a running car unattended was passed in 1974.

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imprezagm4
March 9, 2007, 05:16 PM
Interesting... upon reading the thread title I figured it was some environmental issue though.

TheFederalistWeasel
March 9, 2007, 05:18 PM
Now I ask the huddled masses among us this simple question.

Is this really a tool used by LE to stop a crime from being committed, car theft or is it another in a long string of pointless revenue generation schemes that local governments come up with for the sole purpose of fattening up the coffers?

How would you like to be charged with a crime, under the justification of stopping some one else from committing a crime against you?

Speaking as a cop, this is just plain ****ed up.

:mad:

BigRobT
March 9, 2007, 05:36 PM
In Minneapolis, it's illegal to leave one's keys in the ignition when the vehicle is unoccupied. It only makes sense. A lot of car thefts occur just that way. If it's cold out and one wants to leave their car idling, I'd suggest purchasing a remote starter system. I have one in my truck and I just love it. If someone gets in and touches the brake, it shuts off automatically. (Most vehicles have a brake/shifting lever interlock nowadays) They're not all that expensive. I've seen them for $200 most places, installed. (Except the dealerships)

TrapperReady
March 9, 2007, 05:39 PM
Hmm... the most common vehicles I see around here left empty and idling are police cars. Why am I suddenly getting an image of Gomer chasing Barney around yelling "Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!".

torpid
March 9, 2007, 05:41 PM
I can almost see the rationale from a "freak accident safety" standpoint, but from a crime prevention standpoint, is leaving your front door unlocked illegal in Forest Park too?

Coronach
March 9, 2007, 05:42 PM
This law has been on the books in most states for many, many years. If you don't like it (I think it is safe to say that there are sections of the traffic code that everyone, cops included, considers inane), all it takes is an act of the legislature to overturn it.

Your elected officials work for you. Make them do the right thing.

Mike

Geno
March 9, 2007, 05:50 PM
I concur, it is, "...another in a long string of pointless revenue generation schemes that local governments come up with for the sole purpose of fattening up the coffers..."

This law ranks right up there with Michigan's law that an adult male can be prosecuted for a felony, if he seduces an adult female. How many felons does Michigan have walking about its campuses? I saw that one on Fox news about a month ago, so don't ask me for the specific law...though, I would like to know my own self.

SIOP
March 9, 2007, 05:52 PM
It's been illegal in most of the places I've ever lived. You just don't usually hear about it being enforced very often.

Next time a cop pulls you over and leaves his cruiser running, ask him to write himself a ticket while he's at it. The laws I've read never had an exclusion for cops.

Devonai
March 9, 2007, 05:55 PM
Good luck getting the DPW of any city to comply with these laws.

BigRobT
March 9, 2007, 05:58 PM
SIOP, I've noticed that, too, especially up here in MN. I've often been "tempted" to hop in a drive away. However, my moral side keeps telling me, "NO!!"

scout26
March 9, 2007, 06:54 PM
It's laws like these that my dad was referring to:
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Fly320s
March 9, 2007, 07:23 PM
It only makes sense. A lot of car thefts occur just that way.
You are kidding, right? :eek:

Would you make it a crime to leave your house unlocked when unattended?
Would you make it a crime to leave your wallet sticking out of your pocket?
Would you make it a crime to leave your coat on a coat rack at a restaurant?

Here's a novel idea... punish the criminal, not the victim. Or, to make it clear, the government can't, nor should it attempt, to legislate personal responsibility.

Nomad, 2nd
March 9, 2007, 07:31 PM
All ambulances are in violation...

Zundfolge
March 9, 2007, 07:47 PM
The purpose of this "crime" is so that insurance companies don't have to pay out if your car is stolen if you left it idling with the keys in it.


Its illegal here, but damnit, when its cold out I'm letting the car warm up (my keyless entry widget is on a quick release clip so I can remove it from my key chain ... start the car, let it warm up, LOCK IT, and return to the house).

SouthronBoy
March 9, 2007, 07:55 PM
I'm a prosecutor in Tennessee. Whenever I get a car theft case where the bad guy has the keys, it's a safe bet that one of two things happened, either the victim left his keys in the running car, or it's a crack pawn.

We have a similar law on the books here, but I've never known anybody to be cited for it.

BobCav
March 9, 2007, 08:01 PM
Maybe I'll drive my Chrysler 300 down there and remote start it, let it idle and get a ticket and challenge it in court. The car can't be "stolen" without MY keys and if anyone attempts to drive it without the key, the engine shuts off. So there goes that argument.....:neener:

Beagle-zebub
March 9, 2007, 08:17 PM
I think NJ has this law, and I heard that the rationale was that it would stop robberies with stolen cars, as it would give cops ironclad reason to be suspicious of what might be a hot-wired car about to be used as a getaway car. It's a stupid law, but that's the rationale I heard.

Stevie-Ray
March 9, 2007, 08:46 PM
Then it should be illegal to leave anything in your car that is not original equipment, lest it be too tempting for a passerby to remain an upstanding citizen. You shouldn't be able to water your grass anymore unless you're going to stay near the sprinkler. Because if somebody steals it you should be busted, so you don't dare report it. Don't you dare park your bike on the sidewalk at your house without taking it inside, even if you're just relieving yourself. You old desperado, you. If somebody rides off with that, how do you think he would feel knowing you will probably be fined? Don't be so selfish.

walking arsenal
March 9, 2007, 09:48 PM
They have the same law in Duluth, MN. They would give you a ticket if you left your car running outside.


This generated a lot of revenue in the winter time when it was cold.

You go start your car to let it warm up and when you come back, a ticket!

thebaldguy
March 9, 2007, 11:15 PM
"In Minneapolis, it's illegal to leave one's keys in the ignition when the vehicle is unoccupied. It only makes sense. A lot of car thefts occur just that way. If it's cold out and one wants to leave their car idling, I'd suggest purchasing a remote starter system. I have one in my truck and I just love it. If someone gets in and touches the brake, it shuts off automatically. (Most vehicles have a brake/shifting lever interlock nowadays) They're not all that expensive. I've seen them for $200 most places, installed. (Except the dealerships)"

I should point out that various law enforcement agencies here always leave their cars running unattended. God forbid someone steals a police car left idling unattended...

My brother in law got his car stolen once leaving it running while he ran into a SuperAmerica one winter night. The police were not very amused.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2007, 12:25 AM
Good APS topic. That law does not affect us as gunowners.

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