BELLINGHAM – Authorities in Washington state have said it is illegal to leave a vehicle unattended while the engine is running, raising concerns for many residents in the winter who turn on their cars and head back inside to keep warm.
It is illegal for people driving or in charge of a vehicle to leave it unattended without first stopping the engine under state law, the Bellingham Herald reported Monday.
Pasco Police Department Sgt. Rigo Pruneda originally told KNDO-TV that people see unattended running vehicles as an opportunity to steal.
“We just want to remind everybody, if they are going to warm up the car, please do not leave it unattended. Stay with the vehicle,” Pruneda said.
A 2019 report made public by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs showed 37.6% of vehicles stolen in Washington state were taken from homes and 26% were taken from parking lots and garages.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the state law is also intended to prevent emissions issues.
Spokane has a municipal code prohibiting idling in some areas for more than 60 seconds as part of its Carbon Monoxide Nonattainment Area Implementation Plan, agency officials said. Last year, there were more than 24,000 reported offenses, resulting in about 1,300 arrests.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.