Ohio loosens law on idling cars, but use common sense

Posted at 6:57 AM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 07:10:07-04

CINCINNATI -- Leaving your engine idling to let your car cool down in summer heat or warm up in winter cold has been illegal in Ohio since 2004, but that law is loosening up Friday.

According to Ohio's revised code, there are now exceptions to the ordinance. It doesn't apply to cars parked on residential property, a locked car parked anywhere, or emergency and public safety vehicles.

Sergeant Eric Franz of the Cincinnati Police Department said people in Indian Hill, Madeira or Mason can follow the new law, but he pointed out a city ordinance that Cincinnati has had for about 40 to 50 years.

"It says you can't take your keys out of the ignition, you can't leave your car running curbside. If you do, you leave yourself susceptible to your car being stolen," Franz said. "We enforce our law. We don't enforce the state law. We think our law is a little bit better."

Franz said it's for your own safety. Fifty to 60 percent of car thefts in Cincinnati happen because the key is left in the ignition and drivers walk away. Twice last winter, cars were stolen that had infants sitting in the backseat.

"You can have your car streetside running with keys in the ignition as long as doors are locked and the emergency break is on," Franz said. "You don't want it to pop into gear and roll."