Michigan House Votes To Allow Unattended Driveway Idling

Nissan Maxima parked in driveway 1 photo
Photo: Wikipedia user Ildar Sagdejev (Specious)
We recently reported that a man had challenged a penalty that he received in January for leaving his unattended car in his driveway with the engine running.

’s House of Representatives voted to ensure that tickets like these will not happen again. The vote was 77-30 on Tuesday to repeal the portion of the Michigan Vehicle Code that allowed law enforcement to hand a ticket to drivers who left cars unattended on roadways and other forms of private property.

The bill was proposed by State Rep. Holly Hughes, R-While River Township, who said that this was a matter of personal property rights. She explained that people leaving their cars running when going into a store or a gas station could still be ticketed, but the same does not apply to private property.

Holly Hughes, along with other supporters of this bill, motivated their choice by the fact that many people in the state leave their cars unattended on their property while their engines idle.

Those people do it on hot days and in cold winters to cool down or warm up the interior. We will get to the idling situation in a few paragraphs.

An opponent of this bill, Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, said that the existing legislation was a deterrent for car thieves, and he described it as necessary and vital in many communities to combat auto thefts.

He explained that this is not necessarily an issue in rural areas, where driveways are long, but you cannot apply the same in densely populated areas.

The sponsor of the bill said that any other community is free to pass an ordinance that would allow the application of the former rule, complete with penalties, the Detroit Free Press reports. The bill will be moved to the Senate for consideration.

Idling is bad for engines, and it is even worse for the environment. Leaving a car running without having its doors locked is almost an invitation to theft, while also harming the ozone layer and wasting valuable and non-renewable resources.

If you live in a place where the climate is harsh, you can buy an engine block heater and an auxiliary heating system that will get your motor and your car at your desired temperature without keeping the engine running.

If you have a driveway, you can use a dedicated plug from your house to power up those systems. Some auxiliary heating solutions also work with fuel from the tank, and both options described above (including the engine block heater) let you keep the doors of the car locked, and do not involve stepping out in the cold before you have to drive.

Europe’s Scandinavian countries have employed solutions like electric block heaters and auxiliary heaters for decades. Over there, and in many other places, it is illegal to idle your vehicle’s engine for warm up.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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