Dangers of leaving running cars unattended - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Drivers who leave running cars unattended at risk for fines, thefts

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When the temperature is below freezing, the last thing most drivers want to do is hop into a cold car.

"When it's super cold outside, you know, I kind of need to have a little bit of warmth in there," said Keira Gibbs.

Gibbs admits she warms her car up while she stays comfortable inside, but she does take precautions to keep her car safe.

"I have a spare key, so I lock it and I have it locked and have the alarm actually going so that when I unlock it, it's fine," she said.

But even in this bitter cold weather, thieves are out. Police say two cars were stolen last week when the owners left them running.

State law says if a thief takes your unattended car and happens to crash it, you could be held accountable for the damage.

"Officers are a lot more vigilant about when they're driving through residential areas, convenience stores and box stores. The advantage to when it gets cold is you can tell when cars are running because the exhaust is coming out of the back of the vehicle," said Sgt. Taylor Schmitz with Metro police.

Schmitz says it is against the law to leave your car running unattended with the keys in it and could lead to a fine of up to $100.

However, if you have a remote that starts your car and you lock the vehicle, police say that is not illegal as long as you are on private property.

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