It sounds ridiculous, but it can happen. Do you know about this law?

Last year around this time you may remember hearing a story about the possibility of being ticketed for warming up your car while it is unattended and the keys are in the ignition. The purpose of the law is to protect people from vehicle theft, but the law can also cause you to get a ticket for doing something as seemingly benign as warming up your car during the winter. This is the law in question:

S 1210. Unattended motor vehicle. (a) No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle, and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway, provided, however, the provision for removing the key from the vehicle shall not require the removal of keys hidden from sight about the vehicle for convenience or emergency.

Although it's unlikely, there have been cases of the police reminding people about the law and warning them that ticketing is possible in New York. And this past January someone was ticketed in their own driveway in Michigan for being in violation of a similar law in that state. That's going too far.

Hopefully, the police in the Capital Region will be more discerning than that officer in Michigan, but it's worth keeping the law in mind this winter, especially if you have your car parked on a public road.

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