In Ohio, You Can Get a Ticket for Warming Up Your Car

It’s been pretty cold here in the South, but obviously it’s way more frigid up in Ohio, where it drops below zero routinely. There’s a law there that says you can’t turn your car on to warm it up and then leave the car unattended. If a cop just happens to be cruising around your neighborhood one morning and spots a car with its engine on but with no one inside, he can slap a $150 fine on you.

The law dates back a few years to 2004. And like most laws, it has to do with “protecting the children.” Initially, the law was made to protect kids from being kidnapped, and also to prevent cars from being stolen.

A father had turned his car on with his 3-year-old inside, and the father left very briefly to get something from inside his house. He was gone just a moment, but when he returned, the car and his child were gone. Police think this law would have prevented that child from being kidnapped, and that car from being stolen.

But now, it’s morphed into something beyond what the original law had intended. Now, you can’t even warm up your car in the freezing morning without breaking the law, unless you stay in the car while it’s warming up. But staying in the car while it’s trying to warm up sort of defeats the purpose of warming up your car. You turn on the car and the heat and then go back inside your house where it’s warm. Then after a while, you go back to your car, and hopefully, it’s warm enough that you can safely drive it. That’s apparently against the law in Ohio. Here’s WKBN:

The one exception to the rule is if you have a car that has remote start. In that case, you can lock the doors, and if someone were to get in, the car would automatically shut off.