DES PLAINES, Ill., Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With snow already on the ground in some parts of the country and colder than normal temperatures over much of the nation, many motorists are heating up their cars before heading out on the road.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warns drivers to never leave their vehicle unlocked and running with the keys inside. "We all like a warm car with a defrosted windshield, but so do the car thieves," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "Leaving a car running and unlocked in the driveway or parking lot is an open invitation to them to drive off with a vehicle that they normally couldn't steal. Today's late model vehicles are very difficult to steal thanks for improved anti-theft technology, but unfortunately many of the cars and trucks that are taken today are left unlocked with the keys inside."
Some local police departments report that a large percentage of the vehicles that are stolen in their communities were left unattended with the keys inside. According to news reports, during a recent one week period police said that of the 22 cars stolen in Nashville, 10 had the keys left inside.
The NICB notes that many cars today offer remote starters that do not require a key to be in the ignition and actually require the door locks to be engaged before the engine will start. In the case where that technology isn't available drivers may choose to start the car with one set of keys and lock it up while it warms up, then use a second key to unlock it when it's ready. Unfortunately, a car that is idling while unattended may attract the attention of a thief who can easily break a window to get inside and drive off.
Leaving a car running in public areas with the keys in the ignition is illegal in some areas. For instance, Colorado has a law against "puffing" (referring to the puffs of exhaust from the tailpipe of an idling vehicle) with fines of up to $100.
The NICB also provides the following tips:
- Never leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle, especially one that is running.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed, unventilated area due to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
For video on this topic, click here.
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.
Video - http://youtu.be/J-QTfjtxPrA
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau