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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington state police remind people of vehicle idling law

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 10, 2020

No-idle zone signs were put up in the Pasadena Elementary School parking lot to remind drivers to turn off their vehicles if they’re waiting for more than 30 seconds.  (LIZ KISHIMOTO/The Spokesman-Review)
No-idle zone signs were put up in the Pasadena Elementary School parking lot to remind drivers to turn off their vehicles if they’re waiting for more than 30 seconds. (LIZ KISHIMOTO/The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Associated Press

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.

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