Imagine this: it’s a brisk Tuesday morning. Though it’s spring, the air is chilly, serving as a quiet reminder that winter still lurks in the shadows. You walk out to start your car, still groggy as the warm coffee percolates inside. But your car is gone. Poof. Vanished. Your mind races – was it repossessed? Did my significant other take it instead? Did I park in a different spot? Am I still asleep and this is some nightmarish retelling of Dude, Where’s My Car?… except Ashton Kutcher isn’t around and this isn’t an episode of Punk’d. Nope, your car is gone, and your next step is to call the police. A similar scenario played out 773,139 times in 2017. That’s the amount of vehicles that were stolen that year, according to the FBI. But the most alarming statistic is that 42 percent of stolen cars are never recovered, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The numbers are a reminder of the importance of new technologies available to car owners, like OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance. The suite of technologies is designed to keep an owner informed about their vehicle while assisting law enforcement officials in recovering the stolen vehicle promptly. For those not up on the latest services from GM’s telematics unit, OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance includes Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, Remote Ignition Block, and Theft Alarm Notification.
Remote Ignition Block and Theft Alarm Notification are pretty straight forward technologies. The former disables the engine from being restarted in a stolen vehicle, after the owner files a police report, while the latter will notify an owner if their vehicle alarm sounds after the doors were locked and the alarm has been activated. The system can notify the owner via text, email, and/or phone call.
The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown feature is arguably the most exciting bit of technology included in OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Assistance technology suite. Once the owner files a police report, an OnStar advisor can remotely disable the stolen vehicle’s engine and gradually slow the vehicle down to an idle speed. This only happens once the police give the OnStar advisor permission to do so as a way to guarantee that vehicle will slow in a safe location.
Vehicle thefts in the U.S. hit an eight-year high in 2017, but it’s worth noting that it is still half of what it was in 1998. Regardless of the overall decline, 773,139 vehicles stolen in 2017 is a frightening figure, and even more so when considering that nearly half were never recovered. Those statistics alone highlight the importance of features like OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance, not to mention the stress and inconvenience associated with a stolen vehicle.