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Leaving car running & unattended could cost you

FOR RELEASE: December 10, 2010

COLUMBUS – Common sense tells us that leaving a car idling and unattended could lead to its quick disappearance. But in cold weather, many Ohioans would rather run the risk than sit in a cold car while warming it up.

The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) reminds drivers that it’s also in violation of Ohio law to leave a car running while unattended and you could run the risk of a possible citation.

Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.661 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…

Most municipalities establish an ordinance and fine for a minor misdemeanor of this nature. The maximum allowable fine is $150.

Since Ohio law does not specifically exclude private property from this statute, it’s possible that you could be cited for leaving the motor running in your driveway while not remaining with the vehicle.

The Institute suggests that such a law is likely in place to deter auto theft.

Stolen vehicles are covered under the comprehensive (other than collision) portion of an auto insurance policy. This is an optional coverage that protects insured vehicles in situations other than a collision or overturn. Deductibles apply.

OII is a trade association representing insurance companies and agent groups for the property/casualty insurance industry. Its primary objective is to help Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety issues.

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City code examples:
•  Columbus code: Sec. 2151.08 – Unattended vehicles; setting brakes and key removal.
•  Akron code: Sec. 76.13 – Condition when motor vehicle left unattended.
•  Cincinnati code: Sec. 508-3 – Parking so as to create obstruction prohibited.