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Warm up your car this morning? That could be illegal where you live

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 5:30 PM

If you leave your vehicle running for more than 3 minutes, you may have to pay a whopping $5,000 fine Many states actually have laws against letting your car idle, even in the cold Some states or cities even have laws against using automatic car starters Violators face a minimum fine of $500 Even if a few minutes of idling doesn't seem like a big cost to the environment, we have to think on a mass scale

You're in Washington D.C. on a freezing cold morning, ice frosting your vehicles windows. Not wanting a cold drive to the office, you ask your partner to start the car for you as they leave.

»RELATED: Winter weather: How to shovel, remove snow safely

Sounds perfectly reasonable right? Well, beware because if you leave that vehicle running for more than 3 minutes, you may have to pay a whopping $5,000 fine! It's not exactly common knowledge, but many states actually have laws against letting your car idle, even in the cold when you just want a warm drive to work.

Some states or cities even have laws against using automatic car starters, according to Lifewire. Such laws are an outgrowth of existing laws against leaving your car running while you're not inside.

In Atlanta, the law states: "No person shall stop or stand any truck or bus on any street or public place and idle for more than 15 minutes," according to a compilation of idling laws on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website. Violators face a minimum fine of $500, but there is also a clause that allows for up to 25 minutes when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

While you may think Washington D.C.'s and Atlanta's regulations are a bit extreme, Ohio has a zero tolerance policy for idling, according to Men's Health. But the citation is also significantly less, set at $50. The Buckeye state isn't the only place in the country taking a hard line stance against idling either. The city of Auburn in California also promises $50 fines to anyone caught running their parked vehicle.

Another example is Colorado, where idling is forbidden, unless the temperatures dip below 20 degrees. Many other cities and states have similar regulations, setting rules based on temperatures and/or time limits.

»RELATED: 5 fast car tricks for winter weather

Of course, there's logic behind putting such laws on the books. With scientists around the world regularly warning humanity about the dire and ballooning effects of climate change, cutting down on vehicle emissions is an important, albeit seemingly small, step to address the issue. 

Just last months, a new scientific study revealed that the worst-case predictions regarding climate change are likely the most accurate. The results followed the November publication of an open letter to humanity from more than 15,000 international scientists urging society to address major environmental concerns before it's "too late."

As scientists continue to sound the alarm bells, it certainly pays to be cautious. Even if a few minutes of idling doesn't seem like a big cost to the environment, we have to think on a mass scale. If tens of millions of Americans run their cars for several extra minutes each day, the emissions skyrocket.

At the same time, there has to be a middle ground. In the bitter cold winter temperatures, sometimes preheating your car is the only option. Fortunately, places – such as Atlanta – have added some common sense to their regulation, allowing drivers ample time to heat up their vehicles in low temperatures without risking a fine.

Here's a list of states that have laws against idling, according to the EPA.

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Georgia
  8. Hawaii
  9. Illinois
  10. Louisiana
  11. Maine
  12. Maryland
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Minnesota
  15. Missouri
  16. Nevada
  17. New Hampshire
  18. New Jersey
  19. New York
  20. Ohio
  21. Oregon
  22. Pennsylvania
  23. Rhode Island
  24. South Carolina
  25. Texas
  26. Utah
  27. Vermont
  28. Virginia
  29. Washington
  30. Wisconsin
  31. Wyoming

Some of the regulations are city specific, while others are state-wide. If you're now concerned that you might have been regularly or occasionally breaking the law, you can check your area's regulations via the EPA's roundup

Remember, stay warm out there! But also be conscious of the environment and avoid unnecessary fines.

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Must-see: 'Faceless fish' found for first time in more than a century

Published: Thursday, June 01, 2017 @ 2:22 AM

Coral Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Daniela Dirscherl/Getty Images/WaterFrame RM
Coral Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia(Daniela Dirscherl/Getty Images/WaterFrame RM)

The so-called “faceless fish” was last seen less than a decade after the end of the Civil War, in 1873. The animal was finally brought to the surface again earlier this month when an Australian research vessel discovered one lurking nearly three miles deep.

>> See the fish here

Dr. Tim O’Hara, the chief scientist on the Australian ship, told The Guardian on Wednesday that “the little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can’t see any eyes, you can’t see any nose or gills or mouth. ... It looks like two rear-ends on a fish.”

>> Watch a video about the 'faceless fish'

>> Read more trending news

Their expedition has proven to break miles of scientific ground. The 27 scientists aboard estimate that “about a third” of the specimens that they bring aboard are “completely new to science.” But it wasn’t all good news, the crew claims that they’ve found “hundreds of years of debris” on the ocean floor, only months after a scientific voyage reported surprising levels of pollution in the Mariana Trench.

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10 tips for staying safe while having fun this summer

Published: Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

7 Simple Summer Safety Tips

Summer is coming! 

Although the first official day of spring didn’t hit until March 20, by the first day of April this year, some parts of the U.S. had already hit temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 tips on safety during warm temperatures:

1. Go outside in moderation

Most things are best in moderation. While it’s tempting to be outside as much as you can while the sun is out, especially after a long winter, it’s well researched that extended sun exposure is not good for you.

Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Related: 10 fun ways to spend a rainy day

2. Wear a hat 

If you are outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your face and neck. Look for hats that include UV ratings on the labels.

Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun and mosquitoes.

3. Wear sunglasses

It’s not just because you’re cool -- sunglasses help protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.

Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, which left untreated, can lead to blindness.

4. Wear sunscreen

When you’re out on the beach, liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before stepping on the sand and re-apply at least every two hours -- sunscreen prevents skin cancer and prevents premature aging.

Related: Remember the ABCs of sun protection before you head outside this summer

5. Take heat breaks

Hiking, biking, yard sports -- they’re all fun summer things to do. But if the temperatures are climbing into the 90s or 100s, that can quickly lead to dehydration.

Keep physical activities to a minimum during excessively high temperatures. Whether working or playing outside, drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty, and take rest breaks in the shade.

6. Take little ones out of the car

If the temperatures are climbing, no one you care about should be left in a parked car, especially infants, children or frail elderly people. And don’t leave them unattended. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.

7. Ward off overheating

To prevent overheating and/or sunstroke, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. If you or someone nearby experiences a rapid, strong pulse, feels delirious, becomes unconscious or has a body temperature above 102, call 911 immediately.

8. Keep an eye on young swimmers

Young children love to cool off in the water, but they can get over their heads quickly. Prevent children from drowning by combining adult supervision at all times and have a safety barrier that surrounds a pool or spa.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children under 5.

9. Defend your home from insects

Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus which often mimics influenza, with fevers, body aches and eye pain. West Nile virus can cause serious health complications, and in rare cases, death.

Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. Mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in standing water.

Related: A dash of peppermint oil can keep your home pest-free, naturally

10. Defend yourself from insects

Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. You can also make your own with essential oils, natural witch hazel, distilled water and vegetable glycerin.

Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent at those times.

Florida brewery creates eco-friendly, edible six-pack beer rings

Published: Thursday, May 19, 2016 @ 5:12 PM

Saltwater Brewery, a famous beer spot in Delray Beach, Florida, is making waves for its innovative new packaging, which it hopes will lead to saving marine life.

CraftBeer.com reported Saltwater has created a new six-pack ring that is both eco-friendly and edible. 

>> Read more trending stories

The rings are completely biodegradable, as resistant and efficient as plastic and made of barley and wheat ribbons, which makes them edible for marine animals that come in contact with them, CraftBeer.com reported.

“It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea,” Peter Agardy, head of brand at the brewery, said in a promotional video

The rings are being marketed as the first of their kind and could help save wildlife.

“We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board,” company president Chris Gove said in the video. 

Saltwater Brewery had no comment beyond its statements in the video.

Girl 'saves' gopher tortoise by throwing it in water

Published: Friday, September 25, 2015 @ 4:52 PM
Updated: Friday, September 25, 2015 @ 4:52 PM


            Photo credit: YouTube
Photo credit: YouTube

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More popular and trending stories

"So here's a little note to self if anyone runs into a turtle. Save it. Don't just leave it on the road. They're so cute. Turtle saving is a hobby!"

Those may have been the last words spoken around a gopher tortoise (not a turtle) before being tossed into a pond by a girl during a Snapchat video.

>> Read more trending stories

Heavy.com reports that the video was shared on Reddit, but it's not known who the girl is or who she sent the original video to. 

Gopher tortoises are land animals that cannot swim, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They're also a threatened species found in the southeastern United States, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. 

It's not known if the tortoise that was thrown into the pond survived. 

Watch the video HERE.