Police to use OnStar in pursuits

April 22, 2008 8:11:01 AM PDT
The OnStar safety system isn't just for new car buyers anymore. We're getting a first look today at how police plan to use the system's latest technology to cut back on dangerous high-speed pursuits.

Car thieves love California; the National Insurance Crime Bureau says California is number one in the country when it comes to car thefts. Now there is new technology out that may be able to help police if your car is stolen and involved in a police pursuit. The catch is, though, you have to have the right vehicle.

OnStar is the company behind the new technology. They say what happens is if your car is stolen, their company will alert police. Once the officers are able to spot your car and then begin a pursuit the company can send a signal to the car, but only when they get the go-ahead from police officers. Now the signal will slow down the engine power until the vehicle winds up stopping. They say the technology has been tested out for a year in Michigan. They're now showing it off to police officers all over the country - that's why they're in San Mateo today. How do police know they will have the right vehicle when the signal is sent? One sign is the side mirrors will have a red light that will flash.

"It's a pretty quick process. We want to make sure that we have the right vehicle. We do a couple of safety checks. We make sure the law enforcement is behind the vehicle before we execute a slowdown. They're the ones that tell us the conditions are safe. They know what is happening on the ground in the area. Once they tell us conditions are safe, its a command of the vehicle. It sends it to the power train of the vehicle and ignores the throttle input so it just slows gradually," said Brad Williams, OnStar.

All of this can take seconds, it can take minutes - it really depends on the police officers. The police officers are the ones who will give OnStar the final go-ahead to send that signal and shut down the vehicle; if it's in rush hour and unsafe, police can hold off sending the signal. You have to have a G.M. vehicle, they are in the newer models and its $300 a year.


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