On Monday, May 7 at 8PM, the "World's Wildest Police Videos" program returns to Spike TV. Many of the videos feature what has become a favorite of TV and Internet viewers – the police car chase.
Like the one above from Los Angeles, where a man improbably weaves in and out of bumper-to-bumper traffic as if he's playing demolition derby.
While videos like this are among the most popular on television and Internet channels like AOL, they could become harder to come by in a few years thanks to technology developed by General Motors and finding its way into other brands of vehicles as well.
Each year, some 300 to 350 lives are claimed as a result of some 30,000 high-speed police pursuits. GM has technology, though, called "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown," which is integrated into the company's OnStar GPS system in most GM vehicles.
The system works in conjunction with OnStar by allowing subscribers to the new system, in this instance police enforcement, to communicate with stolen vehicles. Signals sent to the technology forces the stolen vehicle to reduce its engine power, bringing the car to a gradual halt. The system also makes it easy for cops to track down stolen vehicles, chase or not.
Last August, reports OnStar, someone stole several sets of keys from a used-car lot in Louisiana and made off with five cars. However one of the stolen vehicles was a Chevrolet equipped with OnStar. After a police report was filed, the local law enforcement worked with OnStar to find the Chevy through OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance,* which pinpointed its location using GPS technology. OnStar located the Chevy in a grassy field where they also discovered the other stolen vehicles.
Beginning in 2008, OnStar started doing clinics with police departments showing them how the system works. As of the first of this year, the system had been deployed to slow down more than 90 vehicles being pursued by law enforcement.
The system was not deployed with the St.Louis area police pursuing the Chevy Suburban in the "World's Wildest Police Videos" pursuit. Otherwise the driver may well have been brought to a safe halt, since he was driving a Chevy Suburban equipped with OnStar.