If you’re clicking that remote start to warm up your car, you may be breaking state law. It all depends on where the vehicle is parked.

Under current Iowa law, it’s illegal to leave a running vehicle unattended on a public street. A bill to change that has cleared a senate subcommittee.

Senator Thomas Greene of Burlington says if it’s available, lots of people are using the auto-start to warm up their cars this time of year.

“Unless it becomes an issue where someone leaves it unattended for hours or an extended period of time, I really see no problem with this,” Greene says.

Thomas Greene

Greene says sometimes there’s nowhere else but the street to park a car and it’s time for state law to “catch up” with the modern convenience of a remote start.

“I’m driving a nine-year-old car, so I don’t have that option, but the wife’s car, she loves it,” Greene says. “Technology advances.”

The Iowa DOT is not opposed to the bill, but an agency expert says one reason it’s illegal to leave your car running, unattended, on the street is because the car could roll and cause an accident.