When it's freezing outside in the morning, most people want to warm up their car before they hop in. We run, almost prance, back inside our houses, shivering at the door.
If a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer sees you do this, you could get a ticket for leaving your car unattended while the keys are in the ignition.
Charlotte City Ordinance 14-221 spells out exactly what is prohibited.
"It shall be unlawful for an operator or a person in charge of a vehicle to leave such a vehicle unattended on any street, alley, other public property, new or used car lot, or on nay private parking lot to which the general public is invited and at which there is no attendant, without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the ignition key from the vehicle,” the ordinance states.
CMPD Officer Craig Allen said this doesn’t apply to keyless ignitions.
He also said the CMPD is issuing tickets not to be mean, but to get the public’s attention and help spread the word.
“We do it and they start talking to their neighbors,” Allen said. “We are just enforcing the ordinance because we don’t want to see a huge increase in larceny of vehicles.”
In a CMPD newsletter from Dec. 2013, the department reported that in the community meetings they held, 98 percent of people didn’t know the ordinance existed.
Taylor Swan is a student at the University of South Carolina but her home is Charlotte. She said she had no idea about the ordinance and would be “really mad” if she got a ticket.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” she said. “Growing up my mom used to do it all the time.”
Michael Good said he was also stunned by the ordinance.
“I had no idea but I’ll make to not do it from on,” he said.