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Insurance group warns against leaving cars running while unattended

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 18:58:27-05

It seems like common sense, but many Americans do it. Although remote start technology has grown, thousands of cars were stolen in 2018 due to people leaving their car unattended to warm up during the winter.

One insurance group is reminding Americans not to leave their cars running unattended.

According to National Insurance Crime Bureau, 81,911 vehicles were stolen with the keys or fobs left in them in 2018.

"We always warn consumers about the dangers of leaving a vehicle unlocked and not taking the fob or key with them, but leaving the car running with a key or fob in the vehicle is a prime target for an opportunistic thief," said NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer.

The NICB also reminded drivers that in many states and municipalities, leaving a car with the key in the ignition and running could be against the law. For instance, in Ohio, it is a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $150 fine to leave a car running unattended on public property (such as the side of the road). In Colorado, the crime is a class B traffic infraction, punishable with a fine of up to $100.

The NICB offered the following tips:

  • Lock the vehicle, set the alarm, and take all keys or fobs.
  • Do not leave the garage door opener in the vehicle.
  • Take a picture of your registration on your cell phone, and do not leave the registration or other papers with personal information in the vehicle.
  • Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up or while stopping for a quick cup of coffee. It only takes a moment for the opportunistic thief to jump inside and drive off.