K.I.T.T. eat your heart out; the majority of drivers in Ireland it seems would be theoretically in favour of an offensive security feature to prevent car theft that would leave thieves unhurt but temporarily paralyzed if they tried to break in.
It might seem extreme for a parked car to ‘tazer’ a potential car thief but 78% of the 16,500 Irish drivers asked in the AA Motor Insurance poll had no sympathy for the criminal and said they would approve of the feature. Safety concerns were expressed but more about potential law-suits than injury to the car thief.
“I don’t think that we really want to see features like this on Irish cars, though it shows just how angry people get when their property is threatened.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “We work very hard in this country to try to make a living by honest means. The car is such a huge financial investment, and so essential to modern life, that when some scum-bag tries to steal it from you anger is a very natural reaction.”
At the other end of the spectrum some respondents of the AA’s Motor Insurance poll were horrified by the notion of paralysing would be car thieves with one person labelling it as barbaric. Others said they highly disapproved of the idea given the possible implications for someone with an underlying medical condition. There were natural fears too about innocent people being hurt by accident too.
“It makes for a lively debate about the conflicting rights of honest owners and dishonest criminals. There are countries where cars can be equipped with defence mechanisms, normally designed with car-jacking in mind, that are very extreme. Clearly we do not need anything like that here. It is also illegal to recklessly endanger others with devices like these.” Says Faughnan.
“We’re getting to a point with modern cars where reality and science fiction is starting to blur; finger print recognition security systems and self-driver cars are no longer the fantasy of eighties television programmes. There are better, less aggressive ways that technology can be used to beat criminals.”
According to CSO figures car theft and associated crimes in Ireland dropped from 14,369 in 2004 to a figure of 7,473 last year. Despite this the AA advises motorists not to become complacent and to exercise common sense when it comes to car security. They also remind drivers to inform their motor insurance providers of all anti car theft features such as alarms, immobilisers and finger print recognition technology when purchasing their policies to ensure they enjoy any available discounts.
AA Motor Insurance car theft prevention checklist:
Park somewhere e safe – your garage, a well–lit, busy street or a car park.
Reduce theft – Set the alarm/immobilizer and consider fitting a tracking device on high value cars or those likely to be targeted by thieves.
Obvious targets – remove mobile phones and sat naves.
Tempt no-one – Loose change, music CDs and similar items attract thieves and the cost of repairs may be more than the value of the items taken.
Every time you leave the car – close the windows and lock the doors, even at petrol stations.
Car keys are precious – remove them whenever you get out of the car and don’t leave them on display at home. Thieves do break into houses to steal car keys.
Take time – make these simple security checks whenever you leave the car.
Notes to the editor
We recently came across the concept of “Robotic Offensive Security” (When cars fight back!). In theory this technology would leave a thief unhurt but temporarily paralyzed for 30 mins or more if he/she attempted to steal your car. Which of the following BEST describes how you feel about this controversial security feature?
(Based on 16,542 response collected via an online poll issued on March 7th 2014)
|I fully approve||56.43%|
|I somewhat approve||21.87%|
|I somewhat disapprove||5.64%|
|I completely disapprove||5.14%|
|I’m not sure||4.92%|