By Frank Lewis
Let’s face it. We all do it. When temperatures begin to drop, we go out in the morning and start our vehicles to let them warm up before we get in them to go to work or school.
What you may not know is that it is against the law to do that. Here is what 4511.661 of the Ohio Revised Code says:
(A) No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the parking brake, and, when the motor vehicle is standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
The requirements of this section relating to the stopping of the engine, locking of the ignition, and removing the key from the ignition of a motor vehicle shall not apply to an emergency vehicle or a public safety vehicle.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Lieutenant Karla Taulbee of the Jackson Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said there are probably several reasons why the legislation was passed in the first place.
“Basically I think it has to do with deterring auto theft,” Taulbee said. “and kids getting behind the wheel and knocking it into gear with the car sitting on driveways.”
In anticipation of increased traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers that properly wearing a safety belt is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Additionally, remember to follow all traffic laws and not drive impaired.
Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 23 people were killed in 20 fatal crashes on Ohio’s roadways. Seven of the 23 fatalities, 30 percent, were the result of an impaired driver.
As a result, troopers will be out in full force this weekend to remove these dangerous drivers from our roadways.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.