LUBBOCK – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) warns motorists the dangers of Puffing which refers to leaving unattended vehicles running waiting for it to warm-up. As the temperatures around the state drop, many motorists leave their vehicles unattended as they try to warm-up the car.
Puffing is very serious for two reasons. The first concern is if you leave your engine running for 10-15 minutes, that is a lot of emissions released into the air and a waste of gas. Secondly, car thieves are on the lookout for the white puffs emitted from tailpipes on cold days and when the car is unattended, this makes for an easy target.
Authorities in Amarillo reported 939 stolen vehicles in 2018. Out of those reported stolen, 819 vehicles had the keys inside and the car was left running. That is 87% of the total number of stolen vehicles.
Motorists should also know that leaving a vehicle unattended with the keys inside can be a Class C misdemeanor.
This law does not apply if you use a remote starter and your vehicle requires the key to be present in the vehicle or in the ignition before the vehicle can be operated.
The state law applies to vehicles on public roadways unless a city has a separate ordinance making it applicable to private property as well. Check with local authorities for city laws, if different, and statistics.