Colder Temperatures Reignite Car Idling Debate

Detroit Parking Ticket Lawyer

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember two articles from this past summer that documented the saga of a Michigan man receiving a ticket for warming up his car one winter morning. Nick Taylor Trupiano, age 24 and of Roseville, Michigan, started his car in his driveway one morning in January of 2017. Taylor went back in his house to wait for it to warm up, but when he went back out to his car, was shocked to find a ticket on the windshield. The ticket read, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around."

Trupiano, angry and confused by the $128 fine, posted a picture of the ticket on Facebook, along with a heated description of the situation. The post was shared over 14,000 times. Facebook users were both angered at the Roseville Police Department for the bizarre ticket, and concerned that the same thing could happen to them. The Roseville Police Department responded, saying that, by leaving the car on with the keys in the ignition, Trupiano was “putting the public at risk” and creating a “public safety issue.” Essentially, Trupiano was leaving the car open to being stolen, since it was sitting in public view with the keys in the ignition. The law that Trupiano was ticketed under was put in place in order to deter carjackings. Had he started his car with a remote starter, it would have been fine. It’s the fact that the keys were in the ignition, making it fairly easy to steal the car, that was the issue. Trupiano fought the ticket, but lost, and was forced to pay the fine.

Many Michigan residents were concerned that the same thing could happen to them, since it's common for Michiganders in the middle of a harsh, typical winter to warm their cars up while they wait inside. Agreeing with Michigan citizens, Representative Holly Hughes introduced Bill 4215, a bill that would make it legal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition so long as it was on private property. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives, and Governor Rick Snyder officially signed it into law on June 28, 2017. To be clear, it is still illegal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition on public roads and freeways.

Detroit Snow Car Accident Lawyer

While the bill may have alleviated many Michigan residents’ fears about being ticketed for warming up their car in the winter, what was lost in the debate is whether or not cars even need to be warmed up in the winter. The short answer is, no. The idea that drivers need to warm up their vehicles before driving in the winter does stem from some truth, but doesn’t carry much weight now. According to the Washington Post, it is true that a vehicle's fuel economy does decrease significantly in colder temperatures, and it does take longer for the engine to warm up to its optimal temperature in the winter. More so, vehicles manufactured with carburetors do need to be warmed up in order to work well and prevent the car from stalling. However, automobile manufacturers stopped using carburetors by the mid 1990s, and began using electronic fuel injections. Electronic fuel injections can monitor and adjust to the temperature, so warming up isn’t necessary. As a result, modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds before driving - the engine will warm up faster while being driven than it would will idling in the driveway.

In short, if you’re warming up your vehicle to help your engine, that really isn’t necessary. But if you idle your car in the morning simply so your car is warm and you don’t have to spend the first 10 minutes of your commute in an icebox, that’s a different story! Many drivers warm up their car for comfort, but it’s important to consider the economic and environmental implications. Idling your car not only wastes fuel (and thereby wastes money) but it also gives off greenhouse gas emissions. A 2009 study found that idling cars account for 1.6% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. While some idling, such as idling in traffic, is unavoidable, idling in the driveway is not. That same study found that based on the price of fuel in 2009, Americans could save $5.9 billion a year on fuel costs if drivers would cut out unnecessary idling.

Whether you decide to idle your car in the morning or not is up to you. But if you do decide to idle your car, make sure you do so in your driveway, where it is now legal. Do so on a public street, and you are fair game for a ticket.


While accidents can happen any time of year, driving in snowy and icy conditions can be especially challenging, and can lead to winter weather car accidents. If you have been involved in an automobile accident due to winter road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Investigations Launched After Michigan Cop Is Not Penalized For Drunk Driving

An off-duty Michigan police officer was caught drunk driving, and now he and the officer who stopped him are both facing repercussions. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, early on November 9, 2017, at approximately 12:30 AM, an off-duty Roseville police officer was stopped for attempting to travel south in northbound traffic on Woodward Ave. The Roseville officer was pulled over by a Ferndale officer, and while the Roseville officer allegedly appeared to be drunk, he was not given a breathalyzer, nor was he ticketed or arrested. Instead, the Ferndale officer called his supervisor, and was told to drive the Roseville officer, as well as his passenger, back to the station in Ferndale. Once at the Ferndale station, a Ferndale lieutenant drove the Roseville officer and his passenger home.

Many view this as a case of special treatment-since the drunk driver was a cop, and was not breathalyzed, ticketed, or arrested. Instead, his transgressions were ignored and he was given a ride home. As a result, WXYZ Detroit reported that both Roseville and Ferndale police departments launched internal investigations into the incident on November 17, 2017. More so, the Ferndale Police Department submitted the incident to the city attorney for possible criminal charges. The Roseville officer, should he be charged, would be facing an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge. The Roseville officer is currently suspended without pay, and the names of the officers involved are being withheld as the investigation is ongoing.

The Ferndale police department says that some discretion is always involved whenever a driver is pulled over, and that not all drunk drivers are ticketed or arrested. Ferndale Police Chief Collins said in a statement that, “our jobs are complex and we trust our people to use sound judgment. When somebody makes a call that is unsafe or not indicative of the department’s values and operations, we take that seriously and we act accordingly.”

The Roseville police department will be undergoing a drunk driving education program. Roseville Police Chief Berlin said in a statement, “in this day in age for anyone to drive drunk surprises me; there is a whole list of options to get home like Uber and Lyft. As a police officer you know the consequences. The lack of judgment surprised me."

Detroit Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,912 people were killed by a drunk driver between 2003 and 2012 in the state of Michigan. Michigan legislature states that it is illegal to drive while intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medication, and with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more.

Roseville Police Chief Berlin is right-there are plenty of alternatives to drunk driving. By using a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft, prearranging a designated driver, using public transportation, or calling a taxi, or having any way of getting home that doesn’t involve a drunk person getting behind the wheel, is the best way to avoid getting into a drunk driving car accident. Drunk driving is never OK, and no one should be able to avoid the consequences of committing such an avoidable crime. Drunk driving is a danger to every car and person on the road.


Drunk driving can not only lead to extremely dangerous car accidents, but is also illegal. If you or a loved one have been involved in a drunk driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal cosultation.