Is Warming Up Your Car Really Illegal In Illinois?
Now that we've really moved closer to constantly frigid mornings, you're going to see more cars being warmed up each morning in Rockford area driveways.
Every year at this time, you'll probably hear someone weigh in on the topic of letting the car idle in the driveway long enough to get the defroster and the heater working; is it okay to do that, or are you facing some trouble?
You Actually Can Warm Up Your Car In The Driveway Legally, But There's A Catch
It's not a complicated catch, but a catch nonetheless--you have to be in the car (or standing next to it) while it's warming up in order for it to be on the up-and-up (or, legal).
Maybe you're thinking that the whole purpose of warming the car up before getting in is that you don't have to freeze your butt off, and you would be absolutely right. However, being right isn't going to save you from a potential ticket.
Here's What The Law Is On Warming Your Car In Illinois
I don't feel the need to paraphrase any of the Illinois statute on unattended vehicles, so here's the law word-for-word (ilga.gov):
(625 ILCS 5/11-1401) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1401)
Sec. 11-1401. Unattended motor vehicles. Except for a law enforcement officer or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle performing his or her official duties, no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any perceptible grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. An unattended motor vehicle shall not include an unattended locked motor vehicle with the engine running after being started by a remote starter system.
(Source: P.A. 100-435, eff. 8-25-17.)
The bottom line is that you can't go out, start the car, and go back inside until it's warm.
There Is Another Way, If You've Got A Few Extra Dollars To Spend
The two-word solution to the warming car conundrum is this: Remote starter. Here in Illinois, using a remote start changes your car back from unattended to attended because a remote starter can get everything warmed up without you having to leave the vehicle unlocked.