Against Texas Law to Leave a Vehicle Running while Unattended?

Vehicle running while unattended Texas

Ever decided to leave your vehicle running while unattended to get a 10 minute head start while you finish off your morning breakfast or tidy up a bit before rushing off to work? Sure you have. How about quickly going into a convenient store for a hot cup of coffee or dropping off mail at the post office while leaving your vehicle running? Yep, you’ve done that also.

As tempting as it may be to let your car warm up while you’re inside finishing off that last piece of toast or dashing inside your neighborhood Quickie Picky for that fresh cup of mo, you should never leave your vehicle running while unattended.

One of the Leading Causes of Car Theft in Texas Seen in this Video

Don’t leave the engine running while away from your vehicle.

Let’s face it, who really wants to sit in a car while it warms up on a freezing cold day, or better yet, a scorching hot Texas summer day? In a world where everything moves so quickly, a 5-10 minute vehicle warm-up can feel like an eternity.

For a less than 20 second errand, why on earth is it necessary to turn the engine off?

Initially it is bothersome, and doesn’t seem pragmatic until you think of all the possible outcomes and realize you can avoid placing yourself in harm’s way.

Unattended vehicle law Texas Reality Check#1

“Police say a man who was getting ready to go deer hunting left his truck running while he went inside his house; when he came back outside a man was sitting in his truck and attacked him. The suspect kicked the man in the head and face and demanded his wallet, then threatened to kill the man with the rifle he found in the truck.” -KXAN News

And this is exactly what CAN happen when you least expect it!

That man had no idea that a couple of minutes inside to gather a few more items could lead to his life being on the line. If he had the opportunity to do it over again, the car engine would have been either off with all windows up and doors locked or he would have be inside the vehicle with the engine on, windows up and doors locked. It’s unfortunate but this is the way of the world.

Reality Check# 2 Texas unattended vehicle law

A man reportedly left his vehicle running in the driveway of his house; he returned to find it stolen. Fairfield Police cautioned residents not to leave their vehicles running unattended regardless of the weather and time of day. -Ian Thompson

Consider This:

  1. How much time does it take to call the police department and wait for them to get to your location?
  2. How much time does it take to file a report and contact your insurance agency?
  3. How quickly will you get a rental?
  4. How long will it take to replace your vehicle?

Answer – It takes a lot less time to shut your engine off than to go through the agony of your vehicle being stolen.

Did You Know?

“The key to being compensated for a car theft is to have comprehensive car insurance. If you opted out of automobile comprehensive and collision insurance, theft is excluded from your car insurance coverage.

Some carriers do not look favorably on practically handing your car over to thieves by leaving it running unattended in your driveway with the keys in the ignition and doors unlocked. As a result, they might have language in the coverage to exclude the policyholder from claiming a loss if this should happen. Read your policy carefully.

Note any language about the policyholder being liable if he or she “increases the risk of theft” (like leaving your car running unattended). You may also want to check with your local municipality about idling ordinances; if there is one on the books, you may have trouble getting your insurance company to settle.” Bankrate

Fine for leaving a vehicle running while unattended in Texas  Texas Vehicle Running while Unattended


It is currently against the law in Texas to leave your vehicle running while unattended.

If convicted, you can be fined $200.

Remaining in your vehicle when it is running or shutting it off and taking your keys with you can save a call to your local police department, or more importantly, save your life. Take the necessary precautions rather than being annoyed with the minuscule amount of time it takes to be safe… Never leave your vehicle running unattended!

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March 20th, 2015 by