Reminder: OR law prohibits leaving an idle car

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HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — When temperatures drop below freezing like they have been, many people are tempted to leave their car idling when they pop into a store. Well, it turns out that’s illegal in Oregon.

The offense is called failure to secure a motor vehicle, and if they want to, police can issue a solid ticket and fine for doing it.

The main reason the law exists is to protect car owners from becoming victims of theft.

The law says one can’t leave a vehicle unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the key from the ignition.

If the vehicle is idling and driver present, it’s not an issue.

But defining the law can get sticky. Is the driver still considered “there” if they’re inside their house while the car warms up in the morning? And what about new technology that allows a driver to start their car while they’re still inside the house?

It’s a tough law to enforce, but at the very least, for the protection of drivers, police want everyone to know they can give people a citation for leaving their car idling and unattended.

Lt.  Michael Rouches with the Hillsboro Police Department said he can’t remember his agency ever issuing a ticket for illegal idling. He added police don’t want to issue that citation.

The ticket has a maximum fine of $250.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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