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Bill could end tickets for idling cars

Jeff Kramer

A new bill in Lansing would protect people who leave their car idling in their driveway from getting a ticket. 

The measure would change an existing law that allows police to ticket drivers who leave their cars idling.

But some lawmakers argue that law is intended to protect residents from car theft.

The current law allows police to ticket idling vehicles - whether they’re in public parking lots or in private driveways.

Republican State Representative Holly Hughes sponsored the bill that would change that. She says especially up north, ticketing someone for idling their car just doesn’t make sense.

“In Roseville they ticketed a gentlemen for 128 dollars and the officer came and testified in committee and said ‘128 dollars isn’t that much money.’ Well I’m sorry that’s somebody's grocery bill or gas bill. My bill will allow you to warm up your car in the winter time without worry of a ticket.”

Democratic State Representative John Chirkun opposes the measure. He says the current law is intended to reduce car theft.

“People that live out state I get it. Their driveways might be half a mile quarter mile from each other they might be 100 yards away in the woods. But when you’re in an inner ring suburb city your driveway is no more than five ten feet from the sidewalk and car thieves will use that against you to steal cars.”

Representative Hughes says if some municipalities want to keep the current law they can do so locally.

“My bill will allow you to warm up your car in the winter without worry of a ticket. If there is a community that is worried about cars being stolen then it’s up to their local municipality they can do a local ordinance and keep on ticketing people.”

Representative Chirkun says that’s a good idea - In fact, he says municipalities should use this option already - rather than striking down the law.

“The person who dropped the bill if the people in their city don’t like the bill they can go through the city council, their county commission, have a town hall meeting and discuss it, and then they might want to rescind that portion of the vehicle traffic rule. Then they can have their car started.. And not the whole state of Michigan.”

The anti-ticketing bill has passed the house and is headed to the senate.