The sponsor of a bill that would allow drivers with remote starting devices to warm up their unoccupied vehicles plans on tweaking the legislation to have it apply solely to private property.
Metro Councilman Buddy Baker, who co-sponsored the legislation with Councilman Duane Dominy, said he deferred the legislation in the Council’s Public Safety, Beer and Regulated Beverages Committee earlier this week because, as the bill previously read, drivers parked anywhere could leave their automobiles unoccupied and running.
Under the newly added language, Baker said the law would apply to “in your driveway or on your private property.”
The bill is scheduled to go back to committee Feb. 1, and will go before the 40-member Council on second reading Feb. 2.
Though it may be commonplace for Nashvillians to warm up their vehicles as they wait inside, the practice technically violates Metro law. Over the past year, Metro Police issued 22 citations for individuals who broken the rule.
“To me, that’s 22 too many –– for them to come onto your private property and write you a ticket,” Baker said.
Baker’s ordinance would grant car-warming ability to those with a remote starting device, a portable instrument –– often attached to a keychain –– that utilizes a pulse signal to start a vehicle’s engine, allowing a car to run without inserting a key in the ignition. Once the driver enters the vehicle, a key is then inserted into the ignition to drive the automobile.
Baker, who represents parts of west Nashville, said the last six cars he’s owned each have had remote starting devices.
Efforts to enable drivers warm up their cars during cold days began last February when Councilman Michael Craddock learned Metro Police had ticketed one of his Madison constituents for leaving her car running as she waited inside her house. The issue raised eyebrows across the city, raising awareness of a law few knew even existed.
Craddock promptly filed a bill to let all vehicles on private property remain idle while unattended when temperatures reach 40 degrees or less. The bill never made it past committee.
Craddock, however, doesn’t seem so sure about Baker’s legislation, maintaining the “Metro Police department doesn’t like it,” while pointing out the change would not address the majority of drivers.
“This only applies to people who have remote-starts,” Craddock said. “Most of my district don’t have those kind of cars … Most Nashvillians don’t have a car like that. Well, what do they do to warm their car up?”