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Leaving Your Vehicle Running Unattended is Illegal

Baltimore County Police would like to remind drivers to never leave their vehicle unattended with the engine running and keys in the ignition. It not only leaves your car at risk to be stolen, but it is also illegal.

Vehicles left running outside homes, in front of convenience stores and at gas pumps present an easy target for car thieves. Always take your keys with you and secure your vehicle, even for a short trip into the store.

When the weather gets colder, drivers may want to leave their vehicle running to warm up the engine, but should never leave it unattended while doing so.

Maryland Annotated Vehicle Code prohibits an operator of a vehicle to leave a vehicle running and unattended unless the operator:

  • is in charge of a motor vehicle that has had the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system and has been operating unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion; or
  • allows a motor vehicle that is locked and on private property, not open to the public, to operate unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion.

It's The Law

Did you know that leaving a vehicle alone with the engine running is against the law? Officers can issue a ticket that is accompanied by a $70 fine and one point against your driving record. Unattended, running vehicles also pose a safety hazard. If the vehicle slips out of gear and causes an accident, you could be issued a ticket with a $110 fine and three points against your driving record.

Make sure your vehicle doors are locked at all times, spare keys are not left in the vehicle and the vehicle is not left running unattended.

 
Revised December 14, 2016         

 

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