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Is Leaving Your Vehicle Running In Winter Illegal?

It’s getting colder and it’s so easy to jump in your car and warm it up in the upcoming winter months, but it might cost you a ticket this year if you leave your vehicle unattended.

The Kennewick Police Department are reminding folks that it is illegal to leave a running car unattended. Kennewick Police say you could get a $136 ticket or your car could get stolen. The KPD was getting some flack on their Facebook page about the law but their response makes perfect sense.

We appreciate all the feedback however there appears to be some confusion regarding whether or not it is legal to leave a vehicle running while unattended. Our intent of this post was to remind our citizens that you greatly increase your risk of having your car stolen if you leave it running unattended. We do not drive around looking to ticket those who leave their vehicles running however we strongly encourage you to take the necessary precautions to discourage thieves from stealing your car. There is a RCW (state law) that prohibits you from leaving your vehicle running unattended on public streets and a KMC (local law) that allows you to leave your vehicle running on your private property as long as the vehicle is locked. Remote start vehicles are exempt in both cases since you cannot drive the vehicle without inserting a key into the ignition. We hope this clarifies any confusion.

With overnight temperatures predicted to be in the low 30s, we would like to remind you that it is illegal to leave a vehicle running unattended. You could receive a $136 infraction or worse get your vehicle stolen. Locked or unlocked it only takes a thief seconds to drive off with your running vehicle. Scraping your windows and sitting in a cold vehicle for few minutes can save you money and the headache of having to deal with a stolen car.

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