It is Against Texas Law to Leave Your Car Running Unattended
During these cold weather days we've all been known to go start our cars and let them warm up while we go back inside. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago I was being an attentive husband, so I started my wife's car and then started my truck and I went back inside where it was nice and warm and let the vehicles warm up. Little did I know I was breaking the law.
As I was talking to my friend Casey who's a Texas DPS Trooper, I shared with him what I have been doing to stay on my wife's good side by starting her car on these cold winter mornings and getting her car warmed up so her drive to work would be a pleasant warm drive. I further shared that I stopped off at the convenience store to pick up a cup of coffee leaving my vehicle running to keep it warm.
Casey informed me that what I was doing is against the law and that I could be given a ticket. He further advised me to stop doing that because that is exactly what car thieves are looking for, "unattended running vehicles."
Yes, it's true leaving your vehicle "running and unattended" is against Texas law and punishable with a ticket/fine not to mention the loss of my vehicle because it could get stolen. So, I learned something new and I'm wiser knowing how to better protect my vehicles.
Oh, by the way if you have a "remote start" vehicle, it is perfectly legal to start you vehicles and leave them running unattended. Here's the law as it was written back in 1995.
Texas Transportation Code
Unattended Motor Vehicle
(a)Except as provided by Subsection (b), an operator may not leave a vehicle unattended without:
(1)stopping the engine;
(2)locking the ignition;
(3)removing the key from the ignition;
(4)setting the parking brake effectively; and
(5)if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
(b)The requirements of Subsections (a)(1), (2), and (3) do not apply to an operator who starts the engine of a vehicle by using a remote starter or other similar device that:
(1)remotely starts the vehicle’s engine without placing the key in the ignition; and
(2)requires the key to be placed in the ignition or physically present in the vehicle before the vehicle can be operated.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1066 (H.B. 2194), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2015.