You warm up your car in the winter, Right? So you may be tempted to crank up the AC and let your car cool off on a hot summer day. But is that legal in Michigan?

Michigan Law Has Flip-Flopped on the Issue

In the last few years, Michigan has changed its tune when it comes to unattended, running vehicles.

Remember Taylor Trupiano? The Roseville resident was given a ticket for warming up his car outside his home in 2017. At that time, Michigan law prohibited leaving a running vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition, even if that car was parked on private property.

Despite all the public support for Trupiano on social media, a judge ruled that police were within their rights to issue the ticket and chose not to dismiss Trupiano's $128 fine.

Michigan Law Has Changed

Since then, however, Michigan law has changed and now allows motorists just a little more flexibility.

House Bill 4215 gives Michigan motorists the right to leave unattended vehicles in their own driveways. This means it is legal for vehicle owners to cool off their cars before driving on a hot summer day.

However, leaving a vehicle unattended, with the key (or key fob) present on a public roadway or in a parking lot is still against the law.

The use of a remote starter to cool down (or warm up) a vehicle in a parking lot is legal because it allows the vehicle to remain locked and does not require a key or key fob to be present.

An Invitation to Theft

Although Michigan law now allows for vehicles to run unattended in private driveways, police caution that it's still not a good idea. A running vehicle with a key in the ignition is considered an open invitation to thieves.

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