Cold Weather Brings Into Light a Texas Law Y’all May Be Breaking
When it gets cold in Texas, it turns out that a lot of people end up breaking the law.
According to the transportation code, it's against the law in Texas to let your car run unattended. That means turning your car on to heat or cool off the interior and walking away for a minute.
Sec. 545.404. UNATTENDED MOTOR VEHICLE. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an operator may not leave a vehicle unattended without:
(1) stopping the engine;
(2) locking the ignition;
(3) removing the key from the ignition;
(4) setting the parking brake effectively; and
(5) if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
(b) The requirements of Subsections (a)(1), (2), and (3) do not apply to an operator who starts the engine of a vehicle by using a remote starter or other similar device that:
(1) remotely starts the vehicle’s engine without placing the key in the ignition; and
(2) requires the key to be placed in the ignition or physically present in the vehicle before the vehicle can be operated.
When you stop your car, you have to shut off your car. If you get caught it could cost you $500. It's also a Class C misdemeanor.
Now, since remote starts are a big business, they've amended the law slightly. You can start your car remotely and let it warm up and that is fine.
I find it strange that this is coming to light now. We've had less than a week when it's been in the teens in Texas, yet we can go months at a time when it's over 100 degrees in the summer. Yes, people, this law applies to summertime driving as well.
Best bet is to make your teenager go out and start the car. It's what my parents did to me. Before technology, children were the "remote start". It gave me the time to reset the radio presets to the rock stations.