(If you are using a remote starter to start your car in Maryland, you are probably breaking the law. (Big Stock Photo) )

You are apparently breaking the law.

No, really, you are.

Let me explain.

A remote starter starts the car without anyone turning a key. Press a button on a keychain, the car starts. Magic. Remote starters are most often used in extreme weather situations: in cold weather, to warm the car up; in warm weather, to cool the car down. These are cherished and necessary devices, up there with iPhones and toothbrushes.

But in Maryland, remote starters are an illicit convenience.

The law essentially says this: Drivers cannot leave cars unattended unless the engine is totally shut off. (You must remove the key and put in park, too.) A remote starter totally flouts this law: the key is out, the car is in park, but the engine is running.


This legislative session in Annapolis has had some quirky legislating. One delegate wants to change gambling laws to make certain that fantasy football is legal. Other lawmakers are working on the definition of honey. And Howard County legislators want to help golfers drink beer earlier in the day.

Del. Barbara A. Frush, a Democrat from Beltsville, is tackling remote starters. She filed House Bill 990, which adds language to the unattended vehicle law saying it “does not apply to a person who is in charge of a motor vehicle that has recently had the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system.”

The bill reportedly was not opposed at all by the Environmental Matters Committee, which means a vote could be coming soon, which means we can all get back to our lazy, can’t-be-too-cold-or-too-warm-in-our-cars-for-even-10-seconds ways.

What a relief.