WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Anyone who went outside Friday morning to start their car in the frigid temperatures may have broken the law.
“Oh yeah, plenty of times there are times I take and let it run, run inside, it is just too cold out nowadays,” Paul Hays of Warren said.
“Minus 23 this morning, I did let my car warm up for a long time before I went out,” Frank Sobnosky of Girard said.
But according to a 2004 Ohio law, no person is permitted to leave a vehicle unattended without first stopping the engine and removing the key.
“It is to prevent people who should not have access to a vehicle from taking your car,” Niles police officer Shawn Crank said.And police can enforce the law even if your car is sitting in your own driveway. While the law may seem petty, Crank said people might remember the case of 3-year-old Michael Babuka, who was left in an idling car while his father ran inside their John Street home.
“He was only going to be gone for a moment and someone took off with his car and for a whole night we were looking for this child who was in the backseat. This law would prevent that from happening,” Crank said.
There is an exception to the rule and that is for people who own cars equipped with remote start.
“If you use a remote start to keep your car running, it does not apply because you can lock your doors and if someone were to get in, it automatically shuts the car off and you are not able to drive it away,” Crank said.She said most of the time, they will reach into a car and turn the key off instead of issuing a ticket.