Leaving your car unattended with the engine running is illegal in Texas

Rule does not apply to emergency vehicles

FILE - This April 1, 2014, file photo shows a key in the ignition switch of a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File) (Molly Riley)

SEGUIN, Texas – The Seguin Police Department is reminding motorists that it’s against Texas traffic code to leave a car unattended while the engine is running.

Officials with the department posted the reminder to Facebook on Thursday saying the only exception to the rule is “if you are able to remote start your vehicle, and the key needs to [be] in the vehicle for it to be driven.”

However, this rule does not apply to police and other emergency vehicles for several reasons.

“First of all, there is an officer safety issue. Dispatch centers as well as supervisors can see where the officers are at all times,” SPD officials said. “The vehicle’s interior must also be kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer because of portable equipment inside.”

In-car computers are also used so that officers can see the locations of fellow officers. Officials explained that these computers operate very similarly to personal computers and require power.

SPD officials said they wanted to share the reminder to help educate the public who might not have known about the rule, in addition to helping prevent vehicle theft.

“Leaving your vehicle running creates a higher probability of it be stolen. People often forget to lock their vehicles - now add in the vehicle was left with the key in the ignition, and running ... hopefully you can see where we’re getting at,” SPD said in the comment section of the Facebook post.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.