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Police use OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system to recover carjacked vehicle

October 23, 2009

Police use OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system to recover carjacked vehicle

General Motors and OnStar have announced the use of OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown (SVS) service to help safely recover a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe that was carjacked at gunpoint from a subscriber in Visalia, California. This is the first time that SVS has been activated to help a subscriber in a carjacking situation. 

Lindsay, California resident, Jose Ruiz and his cousin were carjacked by a lone assailant wielding a shotgun. The perpetrator ordered the two men out of the vehicle, robbed them of personal belongings and sped off in the Tahoe. Ruiz was able to flag down a police officer to report the incident, and notified them that his vehicle was equipped with OnStar, and requested that the Visalia officers used the service to help recover his vehicle.

Once OnStar advisors verified that the Tahoe had been stolen and that the subscriber had requested assistance, they were able to quickly locate the vehicle and alert the Visalia officers of its location. They were also then able to initiate OnStar’s newest stolen vehicle recovery service, Remote Ignition Block, to ensure that if the suspect stopped the vehicle before the officers were able to locate it visually, he wouldn’t be able to restart it. Once officers had the vehicle in sight, they requested that Stolen Vehicle Slowdown be initiated. Once the vehicle had been safely slowed to a stop, the suspect then attempted to escape on foot, but was quickly apprehended by officers without incident. Less than 16 minutes after OnStar was first contacted, Ruiz’s Tahoe was safely recovered.

Since launch in October of 2008, OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service has been deployed 38 times in a wide variety of situations, including rental vehicles, thefts from dealers and on stationary vehicles, in order to prevent a high-speed chase from potentially starting. Once an OnStar subscriber has reported a stolen vehicle to law enforcement, he or she can call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle Assistance. An OnStar Advisor will use advanced GPS technology to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle, which will be provided only to law enforcement.

Once law enforcement officials have the stolen vehicle in a clear line of sight to know conditions are safe, they can request that the OnStar Advisor remotely slow it down. OnStar will then send a signal to the vehicle’s engine, reducing engine power and gradually slowing the vehicle to idle speed while all other vehicle systems, including power steering and brakes, remain fully operational. In 2008, 334 people were killed in the USA in crashes that resulted from police pursuits, according to the NHTSA. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown helps take high-speed pursuits out of the equation, and reduces the chance that a subscriber’s stolen vehicle will be crashed during a chase.

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