This time of the year it's pretty common to leave for work in the morning and see the puff of cars idling in their driveways up and down the road. There are many reasons that people warm up their cars but you could actually be breaking the law by doing so.

Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Colorado are just a few among the states where it is illegal. In fact some cars in Michigan were ticketed in their own driveways!

Could this happen to you right here in South Jersey?

When it comes to the Garden State the answer is no. It is not illegal in New Jersey to idle your car in the driveway. However, there is a long list of rules and exceptions when it comes to leaving a vehicle running while there is no operator in it.

Here's the gist of it:

  • In New Jersey, you cannot idle your car for longer than 3 minutes BUT the Department cannot enforce this on public roadways and residential properties.
  • Excessive idling can be reported if a citizen feels that it is necessary. An investigator has to determine that the idle is longer than 3 minutes and doesn't fall into any exception category.
  • Exceptions include buses picking up or unloading passengers, motor vehicles stopped in traffic, emergency service vehicles or vehicles waiting for inspection.

Aside from the fact that pollution from idling vehicles may actually have a higher impact on NJ deaths than homicides and car accidents (yikes), authorities also claim that majority of theft occurs when keys are left in a running vehicle.

So, while it isn't illegal in our home state you might want to be cautious of leaving your car warming up in the morning.

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This blog was written by Nicole Alexander, a freelance writer for Townsquare Media South Jersey.