Unattended cars left running could cost you, violates law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Unattended cars left running could cost you, violates state traffic law


You might want to think twice before you warm up a car on the street. If you leave it unattended, it could cost you.

Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and many other cities across the state adopted a law that makes it illegal to leave a car running unattended on a public street.

The law states: "No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, or when standing upon any perceptible grade without effectively setting the brake thereon and turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the street or highway."

"It's not a high priority with us, but it is a tool that we can utilize in case we start having a rash of stolen vehicles," said Director of Safety Services for the City of Waterloo Dan Trelka.

Trelka said in the past three years, he's not aware of the Waterloo Police Department issuing any citation for a violation of the law. But he said the longer you leave a car running unattended, the more likely it is to get stolen.

"When our cars get stolen, it's because people left the keys in them," he said.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said the law is not strictly enforced in Cedar Falls, either.

Still, Trelka said people should follow the law and not leave their cars running unattended. He said a warning is likely to be issued before a citation would be. Trelka said a citation would cost $87.00. 

Rory Dunkelberger left her car running downtown Waterloo, but she didn't leave it unattended.

"I would never do that, I wouldn't want it stolen," she said.

But Juan Hollingsworth didn't follow suit. He left his car running unattended downtown Waterloo for five minutes while he ran an errand in a nearby establishment.

He said he knew it was illegal, but did it anyway.

"Just one of those things you do sometimes in a town like this," he said.

Hollingsworth said it probably wouldn't be worth doing again in the future, and said he was glad he could slip by without a fine.

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