NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It is illegal in Metropolitan Nashville to leave your keys in your car with the car running, even if the car is parked in your own driveway.
Jenn George and her family moved to Nashville from Idaho six months ago.
A few weeks ago, her six-month-old fell ill and with a 102-degree fever, she had to take him to the doctor's.
It was 17 degrees that day, so naturally she went outside to warm up her car.
Minutes later there was a knock at the door, and an officer, dangling her car keys.
George said she didn't know it was illegal in Nashville to start your car and leave it running unattended.
She said her husband attempted to explain to the officer their situation, but they were given a citation anyway.
By law, the officer did nothing wrong, though George thinks knocking on her door, keys in hand, was a little aggressive.
“I was a little frustrated,” she told News 2. “I am glad that they patrol our neighborhood but I am a little disappointed that we didn't get a warning or told that is against the law.”
Officers say the law is in place to prevent auto thefts as almost 40% of the cars stolen in Nashville have the keys left in them.
“Many cars taken are left out front or at a market and these cars are used in robberies and burglaries so they are not traced back to the people,” explained Metro Detective Michael Fisher.
He says “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”
“You have to educate yourself on the rules of community you live in,” he told News 2.
The fine for starting your car in your own driveway and leaving the car unattended is $50.
Not everyone likes the law.
Metro Councilman Michael Craddock calls getting a ticket for warming up your car in the driveway “madness”, and is introducing a bill to change it.
His bill would make it legal to warm your car when it is on your property and the temperature is less than 32 degrees.
Craddock went on to say that he lays no blame on the individual officer that wrote the citation.
“This is all about quotas”, he said in a statement.