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We know, it's cold outside and while it makes sense to "warm up" your car, it is illegal to do on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities.

I just got automatic start put on my car and I absolutely love it. It makes my car nice and toasty in the morning, and I'm not freezing on my 75 second drive to work (yes, I have a short drive to work).

For those who don't have automatic start, it's very tempting to go out and start your car with your keys to warm it up. While that sounds like a good idea, on the Illinois side it could land you a fine, and for everyone throughout the Quad Cities, it could get your car stolen.

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Back in 2017, Illinois lawmakers passed a law making it illegal for people to essentially 'warm up' their car.

According to the Illinois General Assembly:

(625 ILCS 5/11-1401) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1401)
    Sec. 11-1401. Unattended motor vehicles. Except for a law enforcement officer or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle performing his or her official duties, 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 from the ignition, effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any perceptible grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. An unattended motor vehicle shall not include an unattended locked motor vehicle with the engine running after being started by a remote starter system.

In short, you can't warm up your car or let it idle without someone in the drivers seat unless you are a police officer, an authorized emergency vehicle, or have automatic start.

I couldn't find an exact dollar amount for a fine if you were caught leaving your car idling and unattended. Some articles I found said upwards of $100, some said $125, others say $250.

The ultimate fine anyone could face on either side of the Quad Cities when they leave their car unattended is theft.

Because of the rising numbers of car thefts throughout the Quad Cities, over 20 law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Iowa State Patrol, and the Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and East Moline Police Departments have started the #LockItDownQC campaign.

According to the official Lock It Down QC website,

The mission of Lock It Down QC is to prevent auto theft in the Quad City Area. Lock It Down QC is a cooperative effort of Iowa and Illinois Quad City Area law enforcement agencies.

On the Lock It Down QC website, officials say that over 70 cars were stolen in the Quad Cities in December 2020, including one day where 14 vehicles were stolen


On the Lock It Down QC website, officials outline three key actions Quad City citizens can take to prevent car theft including:

  1. Never leave your car running, even if you have your fob.
  2. Always lock your car.
  3. Never leave your keys in your car.

You can find more information and tips about #LockItDownQC here.

Trust me, it doesn't take long for a vehicle to be stolen. Back in December, our older brother station 97x published a story about how fast someone's car can be stolen out of their garage. Take a look for yourself below.

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