People are often warned of the dangers of idle hands. Idle cars, however, carry their own dangers—specifically, the danger of a ticket. With no end to winter in sight, New Jersey drivers looking to warm up their cars should be cautious about when and where they do so.
Under N.J.A.C. 7:27-14,15, a person can be fined up to $250 for idling their car for more than 3 minutes. A second offense carries a fine up to $500 and subsequent offenses can cost up to $1,000. There are no points associated with the ticket.
The good news for drivers is that there are some exceptions. Cars that are in traffic are exempt from the idling rules. In addition, diesel-powered vehicles are permitted to idle up to 15 minutes if the vehicle has been stopped for more than three hours and temperatures are below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Emergency vehicles are also exempt if they are performing emergency services.
New York has a similar law forbidding idling cars, although if the driver is inside he/she will not be ticketed.
It’s important to remember that any traffic or parking violation can be probable cause to issue other tickets as well. In certain circumstances, it could give police a reason to search the vehicle, which could lead to criminal charges. If that happens, it is critical that a person consult with an attorney to protect his/her rights.