Warming Up Unattended Car is Illegal in Maryland, Carries $70 Fine
Updated: Monday, February 17 2014, 06:08 PM EST
Starting a car and leaving it unattended while it warms up is illegal in Maryland and carries a fine of $70.
Maryland motor vehicle law states that "a person driving or otherwise in charge of a motor vehicle may not leave it unattended until the engine is stopped, the ignition locked, the key removed, and the brake effectively set."
According to Maryland State Police more than 50% of the over 16,000 vehicles stolen in Maryland in 2012 were unlocked - and over 30% of those vehicles had the keys inside them.
"Car thieves are like anyone else," Maryland State Police said in a release. "They love to find ways to make their job easier. State and local police know that as the weather turns colder, they will take more reports of vehicles stolen while they sat running in front of a house, a convenience store, or a gas station. Owners always report they were just 'warming up' their car, or they were only in the convenience store for a few seconds."
Police warned of cases involving car thieves cruising neighborhoods in the early morning hours, looking for exhaust from unoccupied vehicles.