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Traffic Tips: Take your keys when you leave your vehicle

April 2, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
Updated April 1, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.


BY SGT. JULIAN HUERTA

This week's traffic law reminder is in regards to leaving the keys in an unattended vehicle and is found in The Texas Transportation Code, 545.404.

Unattended Motor Vehicle

An operator may not leave the 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.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

The fine amount for this traffic law violation is $150.00

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

Motor Vehicle Theft. There is no easier way to have your car or truck stolen than to leave the keys in the vehicle. One of the most common ways we see this law violated is when motorists leave their vehicles running in the parking lots of convenience stores. You might as well hang a sign saying come steal my vehicle, I left it running with the keys in it for your convenience.

If you are found in violation of this statute, you may be cited and fined. Leaving the keys in a vehicle also exposes you to civil litigation should your vehicle be used in a subsequent criminal act or is involved in the injury or death of another person.

The goal of traffic enforcement at the Victoria Police Department is to make our streets safer by reducing illegal and unsafe driving through active enforcement. Traffic enforcement is not about generating revenue, but those who violate the laws of the state of Texas are subject to fines or arrest.

Do your part to help end auto theft by turning your vehicle off and taking your keys with you.

Don't be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Victoria Po lice Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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