Leaving your car idling is illegal in Iowa

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MASON CITY, Iowa – It’s something most people do, but Iowa code says “no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine.”

“It may be getting to the point where it’s a little obsolete but we do have those scenarios that you read about every year in the winter, particularly in the upper Midwest here where people stop somewhere on the way to work to get a coffee and a donut or whatever they’re doing and they’re out of their car for a second and their car goes rolling down the road with somebody else behind the wheel,” Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said.

So what happens if you run inside your house or the store, and your car is idling, and it’s stolen?

“The theft coverage is under the policy, it’s under the comprehensive,” Lee Haines of Haines Insurance said. “So you’ll probably have a deductible on it but other than that they’ll pay for the rest of the value of the car.”

Haines says he’s seen cases of cars being stolen over the years while idling, but he’s never seen a claim denied because someone walked away from their car.

The good news is if you’re worried about being cited, Brinkley says it’s something his department doesn’t impose really at all.

“It’s not something that we would be in the habit of enforcing,” Brinkley said. “But do your best to keep yourself from being a victim take care of your stuff try to protect what you have.”

Both Brinkley and Haines suggest if you’re going to start your car and walk away to have a second key so you can turn it on, lock it and be able to get back in.

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