ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It’s cold outside, and ’tis the season for Illinois residents to warm up their cars and trucks before they get out on the roads.
Understanding the need warm vehicles up before going to work in the morning, while at the store, or even dining out, the Rockford Police Department is reminding everyone to err on the side of caution when doing so.
The department posted a video on Facebook Tuesday, Nov. 15, offering tips to prevent vehicle thefts now that cold weather is upon us.
Tips include locking doors, parking in well-lit areas and: “Don’t ever let your car warm up with the keys in it… EVER.”
What the video does not remind drivers is that in Illinois, it is actually illegal to leave a running car unattended.
According to Illinois law: “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.”
Violators can be fined as much as $100 or more.
But, there is an exception. Cars and trucks equipped with remote-starting systems are not included. That is because a vehicle with auto-start cannot be driven unless a key engages the ignition or, in new cars, the ignition system detects a key fob.
Remote start aside, police are still reminding drivers that things can still be stolen from any parked car. That means leaving personal belongings like purses, wallets, computers, or phones in cars is a great way to attract thieves.
The Rockford Police Department recommends drivers install anti-theft and remote-locking systems on cars that don’t come with them.
Remote-start systems are recommended, too. They can be found at any auto-parts or electronics store.