Yes, it is illegal to leave your car running unattended in South Carolina

Published: Nov. 14, 2017 at 3:34 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2017 at 8:59 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Yes, it's cold. Yes, no one likes being in a freezing cold vehicle this time of year.

But it is illegal to leave your vehicle running unattended in South Carolina - and most importantly, it could lead you to get your car stolen.

It says it right here in Section 56-5-2570:

Parking of unattended motor vehicle.

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 and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

Because no one wants to report someone sneaking around their car, like this man seen in a recent video in northeast Columbia:

Richland County Sheriff's Department's Director of Community Initiatives Maj. Stephany Snowden says that around this time last year, about 80 vehicles were taken in a 3-month span because of unattended, running vehicles.

"You'd be more inconvenienced if your car was stolen and you'd be late to work," Maj. Snowden said. "It's in your best interest to be safe - always."

Snowden says while most of the vehicles were recovered, following the law and not leaving cars unattended would prevent not wasting investigative resources. Maj. Snowden also said that includes keyless start vehicles - the law is about leaving the cars running unattended, not just having the key physically in the ignition.

She also says that RCSD has posted daily updates on their Facebook page telling followers to be safe and not leave cars running unattended in driveways and at other locations, like gas stations and grocery stores. She also mentioned one important thing: never leave children and pets unattended, because that could lead to additional charges for the car owner.

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