Baltimore County Police are reminding drivers to keep their vehicle doors locked and to never store their keys in the vehicle, including a spare key to another vehicle, while it’s unattended. Doing so could lead to items being stolen from your vehicle or even your vehicle being stolen.
Don’t provide an opportunity for a criminal. Many times all it takes is for a suspect to walk through a neighborhood and pull on your car handle to see if it’s unlocked. If it is unlocked, your valuables are at risk to be stolen. A spare key stored in your vehicle could leave you with your car being stolen.
Leaving Your Car Running Unattended is Illegal
Leaving your car running with the keys in the ignition not only leaves your car at risk to be stolen, but it is also illegal.
Vehicles left running outside homes, in front of convenience stores and at gas pumps present an easy target for car thieves. Always take your keys with you and secure your vehicle, even for a short trip into the store.
Maryland Annotated Vehicle Code prohibits an operator of a vehicle to leave a vehicle running and unattended unless the operator:
- is in charge of a motor vehicle that has had the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system and has been operating unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion; or
- allows a motor vehicle that is locked and on private property, not open to the public, to operate unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion.
Penalties and Fines
Did you know that leaving a vehicle alone with the engine running is against the law? Officers can issue a ticket that is accompanied by a $70 fine and one point against your driving record. Unattended, running vehicles also pose a safety hazard. If the vehicle slips out of gear and causes an accident, you could be issued a ticket with a $110 fine and three points against your driving record.
Make sure your vehicle doors are locked at all times, spare keys are not left in the vehicle and the vehicle is not left running unattended.
This information was provided by the Baltimore County Police Department. Please pass along to ensure your neighborhood remains safe and free of convenient crime.