Is It Illegal to Warm Up Your Car in North Dakota?
When there are subzero temperatures in North Dakota, people are definitely warming up their car. But did you know you can get fined?
Let's be honest, we all start our cars in the winter. Whether you have a car starter or you start it with a key, it would be miserable to drive to work in a freezing car. Plus, who wants to spend that much time scraping windows?
According to the North Dakota 'Rules of the Road,' NDCC 39-10-51 states:
No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle may permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, effectively setting the brake thereon, and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
It clearly says that you are not supposed to leave your car unattended with the engine running. Can you really be fined? The answer is yes, but not likely.
We reached out to Christopher Joseph of the North Dakota Legislative Council. He explained that NDCC 39-10-51 was codified in 1955. Technology advances such as remote car starters, keyless entry and push-button starts were obviously not considered as they didn't exist.
As currently codified, warming up your car or using a car starter without you being inside or near the vehicle is prohibited. An individual violating the statute is subject to a $20 fine.
Joseph believes that law enforcement is lenient and understanding with this statute because of the extreme cold North Dakotans have to deal with.
So, there you have it. Is it possible to get a $20 fine for starting your vehicle to warm it up? Yes. Is riding in a warm car worth the risk? Definitely.