DRIVERS have been warned to avoid a common mistake which could lead to a fine as temperatures across the North East plummet.

Those leaving their engine running while defrosting their windscreen are being reminded they could end up with a fine starting at £20.

That is because the law officially states that drivers should not leave their engine running unnecessarily while they are stationary on a public road.

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An occasional sight, drivers have been known to sit in their car while the engine is running to warm up their windscreen - while even worse, some leave it running unattended.  

Drivers falling foul of the law can be found in breach of Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for keeping their engine running unnecessarily.

The act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which states: "You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road."

According to CarMoney, breaking this law can then put drivers £20 out of pocket, potentially rising to £40 if it is not paid within the timeframe issued by the council. This rises to £80 in London.


Andrew Marshall of CarMoney explained why unnecessary idling is illegal as he said the rules recognise the impact on the environment.

He said: "Now more than ever it is important to be aware of our impact on the environment.

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"By minimising car idling on our daily commutes, school drop-offs and simply waiting in traffic, we can contribute less Co2 emissions."

Research has revealed that cutting off your engine for ten minutes can prevent one pound of Carbon Dioxide from being released.

He said: "Aside from switching to electric vehicles or hybrid car models, motorists can be more mindful of their idling habits by switching off their engines if waiting for long periods of time.

"As winter approaches, lessen the need for idling whilst waiting for the windows to defrost by covering your windscreen overnight, or using a can of de-icer and a manual scraper to clear the windscreen."

And it is not just the environment which can be affected by idling engines, noise pollution is another concern with local authorities given the power to investigate complaints if it is causing a nuisance.

Meanwhile, police forces have previously issued a number of warnings urging drivers to avoid leaving their vehicles unattended, especially in colder months, in order to prevent theft. 


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