My Dad always warmed up the car in the garage when I was a kid, he had to open the door, but I remember him eating something for breakfast while the car warmed. Did he break the law?

On any given day, I can say that there are people breaking the law every day. In my apartment complex I know of at least 8 every morning that break the law because they warm up their car and leave it unattended. In Both Superior and in Duluth, you are breaking the law.

According to the Municiple Code Website for Duluth, here's how the law reads:

Sec. 33-91. Keys to be removed from unattended vehicles.
Except for police officers and other public safety employees engaged in the performance of their
official duties, no person shall leave a motor vehicle, except a truck which is engaged in loading or unloading,
unattended on any street, alley, used car lot or unattended parking lot without first stopping the engine,
locking the ignition and removing all ignition keys from the vehicle; provided, however, that any violation of
these provisions shall not mitigate the offense of stealing such motor vehicle, nor shall such violation be used
to effect a recovery in any civil action for theft of such motor vehicle, or the insurance thereon, or have any
other bearing in any civil action.
Whenever any police officer of the city shall find any such motor vehicle standing in violation of the
foregoing provisions, such police officer is authorized and directed to remove therefrom the keys left therein
and to deliver the same to the officer in charge at police headquarters. (Ord. No. 6838, 6-12-1950, § 68; Ord.
No. 7049; Ord. No. 7265, § 1.; Ord. No. 10396, 7/27/2015, §

So basically, if you warm up your car with the keys in the car, you are breaking the law. If you should get a car starter and start it remotely and let it warm up. You are not breaking the law, because your keys aren't in it. You also have to ask what is unattended. it is NOT when you start it up and then scrape your windows, you are still attending to the car.

According to the Municiple Code Website for Superior:

Sec. 112-55. - Leaving keys in vehicle prohibited; parking vehicles with motor running.

Leaving keys in vehicle. No person shall permit any motor vehicle in his custody to stand or remain unattended on any street, alley or other public area, except an attended parking area, unless either the starting lever, throttle, steering apparatus, gear shift, or ignition of the vehicle is locked and the key for such lock is removed from the vehicle.

Parking vehicles with motor running. No person shall park or leave standing any motor vehicle with the motor or refrigerator unit running for more than five minutes within 300 feet of any residence within the city between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

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If you notice, both cities have ordinances against it. There is not a state law. Some cities in both states don't have any law against leaving your car running to warrm it up.

Keep in mind, it is also good common sense to NOT leave your car unattended. Leaving with the keys running is only asking for someone to steal it. It's already running and the keys are in it. Easy to steal and easy to get rid of or hide it.

The other thing that happens is people lock their keys in their car while it's running. I think the reason the ordinance was put into effect was because people locked their keys in their car with children inside. I once helped a lady break into her car because of that reason right there.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson told the Duluth News Tribune these tips:

    • Never leave your car running unattended.
    • Never leave your keys in the vehicle.
    • Always lock your vehicle.
    • Look at purchasing a remote car starter as most of them have built-in security features while your vehicle is running to prevent the vehicle from being driven.
    • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Place valuable items in the trunk if you can’t take them with you.

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