When You Warm Up Your Car, You May Be Breaking NYS Law
Winters in Upstate New York can be brutal. Especially when the temperature gets down near zero with dangerous wind chills. There's nothing worse than getting in a cold car with cold leather seats first thing in the morning.
On morning when it's really cold, I will go out and start my car and use a second set of keys to lock my doors while the car is warming up. Turns out when doing so, I am actually breaking a law in New York State.
According to News 10 Albany, the law is section 1210 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic law. It states that it is illegal to leave a vehicle without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key from the car.
(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 vehicle, and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway, provided, however, the provision for removing the key from the vehicle shall not require the removal of keys hidden from sight about the vehicle for convenience or emergency.
If you have a remote car starter, and you use that to warm up your car, that is the exception to the law. It would not be against the law because a key is not in the ignition. According to News 10 the law was written to prevent motor vehicle thefts.
If you are found violating this law, you could receive a ticket.