Anti-idling law antiquated, dangerous

In North Dakota, it is technically illegal to run your vehicle unattended.

According to the Associated Press, “scores of North Dakotans willingly become lawbreakers by warming up their vehicles without being in them, ignoring a potential $1,500 state fine and 30 days in jail.

“North Dakota’s law was put on the books nearly 75 years ago as a deterrent against automobile theft. Several states in recent years have enacted anti-idling laws in an effort to improve air quality.”

Many are unaware the law is even on the books.

Republican Rep. Daniel Johnston is sponsoring a bill that would make it legal for people to leave their vehicles running unattended, amending a statute that has been on the books since the 1940s that no one can remember being enforced.

So far, there doesn’t appear to be strong, institutional opposition.

According to the AP, Donnell Preskey, executive director of the North Dakota Sheriffs and Deputies Association, said that her group supports amending the law. No one spoke against it.

Upon further review, changing the law makes sense. Stirring car engines is a matter of public safety, regardless of the alleged environmental impact. The existing law is a threat to that and is impossible to rightly enforce. Law enforcement officers should not be burdened with trying to enforce the law.

Good luck to Rep. Daniel Johnston and supporters in pursuing this reasonable proposition.