Early one morning in 2009, Jose Ruiz watched a thief drive off with his Chevrolet Tahoe after being carjacked at gunpoint. Jose didn’t argue with the perpetrator. Instead he cooperated and was confident that as long as he could escape with his life, he would see his Tahoe very soon. Why? Because Jose had OnStar.
Less than 16 minutes after OnStar was contacted, the Tahoe was safely recovered.
The safe recovery of Jose’s vehicle was due to Stolen Vehicle Slowdown – one of three Stolen Vehicle Assistance tools OnStar offers subscribers and whose 5 year anniversary we celebrate this year.
It’s cases like Jose’s that make me proud to be an Emergency Services Outreach Manager for OnStar. Our team’s role is to work closely with public safety officials in North America to develop and modify our emergency and security services to ensure best practices are implemented and followed.
Looking back on the last five years, we’ve safely slowed down 250 stolen vehicles. That’s 250 individuals who have recovered their stolen vehicle. Additionally, that’s 250 potential high-speed chases that our public safety officials didn’t have to pursue.
If we’ve saved even one life, all of this effort, training and investment were worth it.
Here’s how Stolen Vehicle Slowdown works:
- An OnStar subscriber calls OnStar to request stolen vehicle assistance. If not already completed, OnStar connects the subscriber to law enforcement to file a police report.
- Once OnStar confirms law enforcement is treating the vehicle as stolen, OnStar connects with the vehicle to download its precise GPS location, then relays it to authorities.
- Once a law enforcement official is at the vehicle’s location, he/she requests a slowdown when conditions are appropriate.
- OnStar sends a signal to the stolen vehicle to disable its accelerator, leaving braking and steering systems intact. The thief can pull off the road, be apprehended by law enforcement – and perhaps most importantly, a potentially fatal high speed chase can be stopped or better yet, prevented altogether.
A vehicle is stolen every 44.1 seconds in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since OnStar was founded in 1996, more than 59,000 stolen vehicles have been located using Stolen Vehicle Assistance services.
OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is available on most 2009 model year and newer GM vehicles in the U.S., Canada, China and Mexico. The service is included in the OnStar subscription that comes standard on new GM vehicles.
As a West Point graduate, a former liaison officer in the US Army, the son of a State Trooper and the father of three boys (two of driving age), I am proud to be a part of the OnStar team, providing peace of mind in a scary world to our millions of subscribers. We sleep well at night, knowing our subscribers can do the same.
Here’s to another five years and beyond of safer rides and roads.
For more information on Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and other assistance tools from OnStar, visit www.onstar.com.