Breaking down the law on idling vehicles - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Breaking down the law on idling vehicles

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Despite state law, most people do it.

Whether you're on your way to work or running inside a gas station, several Iowans leave their vehicles unattended and running, even though it's against the law.

According to Iowa Code 321.362, "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 highway."

Many people can't believe it, but after checking in with Waterloo Police, we learned, in fact, it's against the law to leave your car running without anyone inside.

Despite law, this doesn't mean police officers will start ticketing drivers who try to warm up their cars in these chilly conditions, but it could create a problem with your insurance company if your vehicle is ever stolen while you left it running.

Experts recommend either locking your vehicle while you warm it up, or you should have someone install remote start to avoid this tricky law.

"I understand you're not supposed to do that," Cedar Falls driver, Carl Ellison said in response to letting your car idle alone.

Ellison says he rarely starts his vehicle and lets it run unless he's driving his wife somewhere.

"It depends. If I'm by myself, normally I don't, but if I'm with my wife, I let it run a little bit. We've got heated seats, so that warms the seats up in it. So, it's a little better when it gets this cold," Ellison said.

Farris Stereo Manager Dennis Hofmann said he's staying busy this season installing remote start systems, and he adds it's bad to drive your vehicle without letting it get warm.

"You know. You're already cold, and just sitting there isn't any fun. So, it feels better if you're at least moving a little bit," Hofmann said.

Most remote starts are easy to use and attach to your car keys, but the fancier systems only require a quick tap on your smartphone, and you're ready to go.

"Yep, there are some crazy models you can buy and have your cellphone do it, but a normal remote is about $350 installed," Hofmann said.

Dennis said he can install remote start systems on most vehicles, but some European cars like Mercedes and BMW can be tricky.

He said the price to install systems start around $350 and it goes up from there.


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