Michigan Senate OKs leaving your car running in the driveway

LANSING, MICH. - Leaving cars running and unattended has been an infraction of state law, but the state Senate gave final passage today to a bill that would repeal that portion of the Michigan Vehicle Code.

It may be too late for Taylor Trupiano, who got a $128 ticket for leaving his car running unattended in his Roseville driveway in January.

Without any debate or discussion, the state Senate voted, 30-6, today to repeal the portion of the Michigan Vehicle Code that allows law enforcement to ticket drivers who leave their car running on roadways and on private property.

Communities would still be free to pass ordinances that would allow tickets for unattended vehicles, but they would have to face constituents' wrath given that it would no longer be illegal under state law. 

Many people leave their cars running in their driveways to warm them up in the winter or cool them down in the summer. That was the case for Trupiano, who contested the $128 ticket he got when he left his car running to go back into his house to get his girlfriend and her 2-year-old son.

A judge denied the request to dismiss the ticket.

RELATED: $128 ticket stands for Roseville man who left car running in driveway

State Rep. Holly Hughes, R-White River Township, sponsored the bill and said last month that it was a matter of personal property rights.

But opponents, including state Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, said the law is a good deterrent and will help keep thieves from stealing cars from people who leave their children in cars to run back into their homes or into stores.

He recalled two recent instances in which cars that were running and left unattended with children inside were stolen. In both cases, the thieves abandoned the cars and the children were unharmed.

“This is the kind of stuff the Roseville ordinance is designed to end,” Chirkun said. “In more rural communities, the driveways are longer, but in a more densely populated area, a vehicle can become a 4,000 pound assault weapon. We lock our guns up, why not our cars?”

And state Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, said one incident in Roseville shouldn't dictate state law.

"This is about home rule," he said. "We had one incident in the city of Roseville and because of that we're changing law for the entire state. I just don't agree with that."

Voting against the bill were Democrats: Sens. Vince Gregory of Southfield, Steven, Bieda of Warren, Morris Hood of Detroit, Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor and Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor and Ian Conyers of Detroit.

The bill — HB 4215 — now moves to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Detroit Free Press


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