Law bans drivers from leaving car unattended to warm it up

Law bans drivers from leaving car unattended to warm it up (Image 1)

As temperatures continue to drop across Middle Tennessee, many people are unknowingly breaking the law.

Metro Council passed a law several years ago prohibiting drivers from starting their car to warm it up and then leave it unattended.

It's not only against the law, but drivers could also be held liable for what thieves do with their vehicle or face a fine in Davidson County.

“The big importance of what we were talking about is to keep people from stealing your car,” said Metro Councilman Buddy Baker.

Car theft prevention is one of the main reasons behind the ordinance, which Metro Council passed in 2010.

Authorities say they often experience an increase in vehicle thefts when the weather turns cold because drivers leave their vehicles running and unattended.  However, many Nashville residents like Nancy Benedict were unaware the law even exists.

“I come from the Chicago area and that's what you do.  You turn the car on before you go out because you don't want to get into a freezing car,” said Benedict.

Drivers could also be held liable for a thief not only stealing their vehicle, but wrecking it, too.

On November 14, a man reported his car stolen from his driveway on Old Hickory Boulevard.  The victim told police he was warming up his car.

Authorities stated victims like this could be held in civil court for damages.

“You're responsible for that car at all times,” said Councilman Baker.

Car remotes are exempt from the law since it is nearly impossible for anyone to drive away in your vehicle without the key in the ignition.

Experts also told News 2 insurance companies may be more reluctant to pay quickly or in full on stolen cars when it can be proven that the keys were left inside.

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