Michigan Senate approves bill to let you leave car running unattended

A bill approved by the Michigan Legislature would let residents legally leave a vehicle running unattended on private property.

The bill cleared the Senate on a 30-6 vote Tuesday and goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. It was proposed after a Detroit-area man was ticketed $128 for leaving a car running in his driveway as the vehicle warmed up.

A state rule requires people to stop the engine and remove the ignition key before letting a vehicle stand unattended. The legislation would keep the prohibition in place only for vehicles parked on public streets, but not if they are equipped with a remote-start feature.

The House passed the bill in early May by a vote of 77-30. The bill rescinds a portion of the state law that allows police to ticket you for leaving your car idling on roadways and on private property. The 2003 amendment made it possible for police to ticket you for leaving your car running with the keys in the ignition.

MORE: Michigan House votes to let you leave car running unattended

The bill would keep the prohibition in place only for vehicles parked on public streets.

The law became a hot button issue in Michigan and around the country earlier this year when a Roseville man was issued a $128 ticket for leaving his car running in the driveway on a cold January morning. Nick Taylor appealed the ticket and it was upheld by a Michigan judge. He promised to appeal the ruling. 

Roseville man posts ticket he received for warming car in own driveway 

At the time of his ticket, Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said the ticket was issued due to public safety.

"This is purely a public safety issue. You can't do it. You see it all the time, people hop in a running car and Steal them. Something bad happens when that occurs," Berlin said.

Taylor posted his ticket to Facebook, along with a few choice words about the officer, and thousands of people commented and shared the photo. He admitted that he regretted the foul language that he used.

Berlin said that if he had remote start, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Roseville man loses in court over ticket for warming car in driveway

"Our officers are cognizant of the fact that some people have auto-start. Auto-start has numerous safeguards built in to prevent the car from being stolen: car must be locked, must be in gear. you cannot put the car in gear until the key is inserted into the ignition. That is done to prevent the car from being stolen. That was not the case," Berlin said.

If the bill is signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, it would go into effect within 90 days and in time for this winter.


Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.