GM's OnStar service successfully halted a carjacker as he fled with a customer vehicle. This is the first time that the OnStar service has been used in the field in this manner.
“It helped us not only safely recover a vehicle for a local citizen, but also prevented a dangerous high-speed chase and allowed us to quickly apprehend a suspect,” Visalia police department sergeant Steven Phillips said in a statement. “It’s a win for everyone.”
Here’s how it works: Once OnStar sends a signal to the vehicle’s engine, it begins reducing engine power and gradually slows the vehicle to idle speed. All other vehicle systems, including power steering and brakes, remain fully operational.
(Video: Owner gets his car back with OnStar)
Fans of Keith Laumer will find this device familiar. In his 1965 book A Plague of Demons, he writes about a police control-override that lets law enforcement bring a fleeing vehicle to a halt.
I nudged the car into motion, steering between the two wide-shouldered, lean-hipped trouble boys. One whipped out a three-inch black disc - a police control-override. A red light blinked on the dash; the car faltered as the external command came to brake.