Onstar becomes an anti-theft device. According to the FBI, over a million cars are reported stolen each year, and according to the National Highway Traffic Association, those stolen vehicles result in roughly 30,000 police chases which in turn cause 300 deaths. All of those numbers are grim, but so are the financial realities of what a stolen car does to your insurance. Either your rates will increase, or you’ll have to spend long hours fighting to get the money you deserve, and neither option is terribly attractive. It’s a no-brainer, then, that security and anti-theft devices are a must-have, but did you know that General Motors’ OnStar system is one such feature?

Originally introduced as emerging technology in October, 2007, the OnStar service in question is called Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, and it represents just one facet of the services stolen vehicle recovery methods. It works by allowing OnStar personnel working in tandem with the police to send a signal to a stolen vehicle, causing the engine to gradually reduce power until the car, truck or SUV comes to a safe stop. At that point, the GPS locator part of OnStar can be used to track the location of the stopped vehicle, if that wasn’t already accomplished.

Chet Huber, president of OnStar has this to say about his service: “From its inception, the motivation behind OnStar has been the safety and security of our subscribers and others on the road. Every service we add builds on this original promise. The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service will allow our subscribers added peace of mind by possibly preventing their vehicle from being used as an instrument of harm if it happens to be stolen.”

The NHTSA also likes this use of the system that is often discounted as mere entertainment. Nicole R. Nason, the administrator of NHTSA says, “We applaud innovations such as the kind GM is embracing that will make our roads better, our passengers more protected and our drivers safer.”

OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown isn’t yet available, but buyers can expect to see it first offered on 2009 model year Chevrolets, which brand will represent roughly 60% of all vehicles so equipped. Law enforcement officers are already anticipating the technology, however. According to David Hiller, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, “We look forward to having technologies like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available to aid our officers in apprehending suspected car thieves and keeping our officers, highways and citizens safe.”

OnStar has already been of assistance to police and other law enforcement officers since its inception in 1996, and the addition of the Vehicle Slowdown feature merely makes it more robust. It also makes it a true anti-theft device, so be certain to ask your insurance company about any related discounts.

By pauline