Traffic tip: Don't leave your unattended vehicle running

By Kevin Sanderson
April 14, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated April 13, 2012 at 11:14 p.m.

This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code,

Sec. 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.

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

Some citizens may be under the impression that if they have to stop at a convenience store for just a few items, that it is perfectly fine to leave their vehicle running, keys in the ignition, and doors unlocked in the parking lot. Apparently allowing their vehicle's interior temperature to rise by a few degrees is simply unacceptable. This is, however, a violation of the above traffic law for unattended motor vehicles. This law prevents traffic collisions from rolling vehicles, harmful emissions from vehicles sitting idle and, most of all, motor vehicle theft. Leaving your vehicle running with the keys dangling from the ignition may be just the icing on the cake for criminals to commit this crime of opportunity.

Why make it easy for them? Turn off your car, take your keys and make sure your vehicle is safely parked. This simple act can prevent you from receiving a citation or having your vehicle stolen.

The Victoria Police Department reminds you to drive safe, and obey all the traffic laws. The life you save may be your own.

For more information, contact the Victoria Police Department Traffic Unit at 361- 485-3700.



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