It's my driveway. It's my car. It's hot out. What's the problem?

Much like in the winter when it's freezing cold outside and we start our cars to warm them up before we drive them, we do the same in the summertime, starting the car to get the A/C running to cool it down.

Olav Tvedt/Unspplash
Olav Tvedt/Unspplash

ESPECIALLY if you have leather seats. OUCHEE!

But the next time you do that, just know you're breaking the law.


Why is it illegal to leave your car running idle?

The law states, 'Excessive idling causes an unnecessary release of air contaminants into the air in New Jersey, including fine particulates and air toxics. Every year, hundreds of New Jerseyans die prematurely from exposure to diesel exhaust. Fine particle pollution may actually cause more deaths in NJ than homicides and car accidents combined.'

I'm guessing this law applies to automatic car starts, too.

How would anyone know?

Your neighbors could dime you out. There's actually a hotline people can call to report idling. It's 1-877-WARN-DEP. Then, then your county's local health department will 'initiate an investigation in response to complaints from one or more citizens regarding an illegally idling vehicle'. First-time offenders can be fined up to $250.

The exceptions to the rule.

You can get away with it for three minutes, according to, but no longer than that. A few of the other exceptions, according to, include vehicles with diesel engines. Those 'may idle for up to 15 consecutive minutes when the vehicle has been stopped for 3 or more hours' and only if temperature is greater than 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Buses are permitted to be idle in certain cases of picking up or dropping off passengers. The law also does not apply to First responders.

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And, NO, sitting in traffic doesn't count. It's all about in your driveway or in front of your house. Read more here.


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