Is It Illegal To Cool Off Your Car In Iowa?
Luckily for us, Mother Nature has cooled off a little bit before it eventually gets hot again. When temperatures do eventually go back up, the interior of your car becomes a health hazard with a seatbelt that can brand you and seats hotter than the sun.
To prevent those things from happening before getting in and driving, you may be tempted to cool off your car to a better temperature if your air conditioning is running well. But if you decide to cool your car off with the key in the ignition and walk away, can Iowa police give you a fine like a neighboring state?
Luckily for people in Iowa, you can cool off your car all you want. Automatic start or not, Iowa got rid of that law over 6 years ago.
You Can Legally Cool Off Your Car In Iowa
When we talk about making your car comfortable during the year, we normally think about the winter months to warm up your car. But in the summer when temperatures reach into the 90s and humidity is high, it's tempting to cool off your car too.
Recently we told you if you cool off your car and get caught by police in Illinois, you could get a ticket. Back in 2017, Iowa amended its law that was similar to Illinois'. On March 16, 2017, Iowa legislatures changed Chapter 8, Section 1. Section 321.362 to read as follows:
NoA person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall not permit itthe vehicle to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, or when standingupon any perceptible grade without effectively setting the brake thereonand turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
Essentially, before 2016, it was illegal in Iowa to cool off your car if you didn't have an automatic start. After 2016, you're good to cool off your car in Iowa with care in the world. Kind of.
Cold Tickets For A Cool Car In Illinois
Just a reminder for our friends on the Illinois side, it is illegal to cool off your car if you don't have an automatic start. If you cool off your car and get caught by police in Illinois, you could get a ticket.
Back in 2017, Illinois lawmakers passed this law making it illegal for people to essentially 'cool off' their cars.
According to the Illinois General Assembly:
(625 ILCS 5/11-1401)
(from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1401)
Unattended motor vehicles.
Except for a law enforcement officer or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle performing his or her official duties, 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. An unattended motor vehicle shall not include an unattended locked motor vehicle with the engine running after being started by a remote starter system.
But the most important reminder for everyone in the Quad Cities is that the ultimate fine anyone could face on either side of the Quad Cities when they leave their car unattended is theft.
Crime Goes Up When It's Warmer Outside
Unfortunately, that's not a myth. People get their cars stolen in the Quad Cities what feels like every day. Summer or winter.
In 2020, because of the rising numbers of car thefts throughout the Quad Cities, over 20 law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Iowa State Patrol, and the Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and East Moline Police Departments have started the #LockItDownQC campaign.
According to the official Lock It Down QC website,
The mission of Lock It Down QC is to prevent auto theft in the Quad City Area. Lock It Down QC is a cooperative effort of Iowa and Illinois Quad City Area law enforcement agencies.
On the Lock It Down QC website, officials outline three key actions Quad City citizens can take to prevent car theft including:
- Never leave your car running, even if you have your fob.
- Always lock your car.
- Never leave your keys in your car.
You can find more information and tips about #LockItDownQC here.