Illegal to leave cars idling in public parking lots

Ashley Potosky, Journalist

Idling a car is illegal in many states, including Michigan where citizens can not have a car running in a public parking lot.

An idling car is described as when the engine is running, but not being in motion.

However, when a man was warming up a car in his own driveway in Roseville, Michigan near Detroit he received a $128 fine.

The Michigan law only specifies cars on the highway or in public parking lots, but there are many city ordinances that specify about running a vehicle on private property.

“[Idling a car] on private property like your driveway is okay. If it’s a public parking lot like a party store, then we follow state laws and you can’t idle your vehicle,” said the Jackson Police Department.

Currently, Jackson does not have any ordinances about running a car in a driveway, but there are some street signs suggesting drivers avoid idling.

“I have a keyless entry system for my car key, so I can start my car without being inside it,” said Computer Skills teacher Mr. Brandon Baker. “In the mornings sometimes before I drop off my children, I leave my car running in the winter time.”

While Jackson may not have any laws about running a car in the driveway, every city has it’s own ordinances. Other cities may have different rules about vehicles that are not moving.

Ann Arbor is adopting an unnecessary idling law which will take effect on July 1 according to The law intends to decrease pollution from vehicles.

Pollution is one of the issues larger cities are trying to reduce with these type of laws, another problem with unattended running cars is car theft.

When keys are in the ignition and turned on it can become an easier target for thieves. Many cities have put anti-idling ordinances in place to prevent car-jacking.

While traveling to these cities and wanting to warm up a vehicle in cold temperatures, a remote starter is an acceptable substitute.

“You can have issues if you don’t warm up your car for a long enough time. I think that’s the owner’s responsibility if it gets stolen,” said senior Noah Pieh.

While there is no law about warming up a vehicle in a driveway for Jackson, motorists need to be aware of law changes in their communities as well as in the state.