dcsimg
Call Us Toll Free: 1-855-430-7753

Q&A

See if your question's been answered
Looking for more answers? Find advice to
commonly asked questions from our team
of insurance experts.

Q

Can you get a ticket for leaving your keys in your vehicle unattended, running or not running?


A

State laws differ but in many states you can be cited by law enforcement for leaving your keys in the car while it is unattended and running. Some states may also have laws for leaving keys in the motor vehicle whether it is running or not but most state laws seem to state in their statutes that the car cannot be left running and unattended.

For example:

New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1210 is titled unattended motor vehicle and states:

(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 vehicle, and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing
upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway, provided, however, the provision for removing the key from the vehicle shall not require the removal of keys hidden from sight about the vehicle for convenience or emergency.

In OH it is a minor misdemeanor to leave your car running while unattended per Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.661 which states:

(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.

In Washington State it is also illegal to leave your car running and unattended. We have read that the fine is around $100. Section 46.61.600 of the WA Revised Code states:

(1) 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 and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any perceptible grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

Colorado Springs, Colorado law enforcement notes that the city, county and state of CO all prohibit leaving unattended cars with engines running. Ignitions must be turned off and the keys removed. Having an unattended motor vehicle with engine running in the city brings a $60 fine. The county follows the state statute and adds a $10 penalty assessment to the state's $15 fine and $2.60 surcharge.

During the winter months many people want to warm up their vehicles in the morning and thus leave them running and unattended up to 15 minutes or so but in many states this is against the law and can get you a ticket. Beyond the ticket this makes your car an easy target to a thief that is tempted by your vehicle that they just have to hop in and take off in. Your negligence in having the keys in the ignition may allow your insurer to even deny your comprehensive insurance claim for your now stolen vehicle.

To find out what your state's laws are on leaving keys in your car and the vehicle unattended, whether the engine is left running or not, contact your Department of Motor Vehicles or like state agency.


Categories:

Add Comment

Leave a Comment
 
 
 
2 Responses to "Can you get a ticket for leaving your keys in your vehicle unattended, running or not running?"
  1. Visitor

    New York statute in this regard also applies only on public roads unless a city, village, or other local jurisdiction has enacted a local ordinance.

      Reply»  
  2. Visitor

    Washington State's "unattended vehicle" law applies only to "operation of vehicles upon highways." See RCW 46.61.005. Always best, when a word like "unattended" is used, to look for a definition, too. If there is no definition, it may make the law unenforceable. If you have your eye on a vehicle, it would seem logical that you are attending to it. If something deeper were meant, it would seem logical that the law would have stipulated "without a driver present in the driver's seat."

      Reply»