Archives For Breakin’ the Law

It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week — and with good reason!

Car crashes are the main cause of teenage deaths every year. AAA has analyzed data on fatal car crashes and found that 16- and 17-year-old drivers are involved in seven times as many crashes as motorists 40 and over.

Even MORE alarming is that teenagers drive worse when they’re with other teens.

For instance, they are far more likely to speed when with their peers. And as you might expect, many of the fatal crashes that occurred took place at night between 11pm and 5am.

Of course, you have to wonder if any parent would allow their teens to drive during those hours!

The report also shows that drinking and driving is on the decline — but of the young teens involved in traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2010, 13 percent were driving alone while under the influence. The number was 18 percent when there were three or more teens on board.

Guess where teens learn their driving habits? Their parents!

Read the full article here and get the scoop on AAA’s graduated licensing program.

For more on teen driver safety programs, like the one sponsored by Bridgestone, click here.

Remember the story we brought you in early July about BMWs disappearing (being stolen actually) in less than three minutes?

Well if you don’t, here’s a quick recap — car thieves in the U.K. used an over-the-counter key fob to bypass the security systems of several BMWs in a matter of minutes. The fob was able to deactivate the luxury cars’ current settings so criminals could make a quick getaway and not leave a trace of evidence that the car was stolen.

Worried that BMW doesn’t care if your $30,000 investment is growing feet and running off in the middle of the night? Well rest easy, because BMW is making some serious changes to ensure that your luxury vehicle is protected.

In a statement, BMW made it clear that they want to ensure the protection of their customer’s vehicles: “All our cars meet all security standards and regulations, but as responsible manufacturers we are looking at ways of mitigating against this new kind of attack.”

The automaker said that actions they’re taking include enhancing the security on models previous to the 2011 series, and contacting owners to ensure they get the necessary work taken care of on their vehicle.

Don’t be a victim of this high-tech crime — replace that standard security system and protect your $30,000-plus investment!

Remember that we told you back in July that there’s a lesson here for car owners: Thieves will always find a way to get into your car – what you need is real-time awareness of when/where someone tries to violate your vehicle.

We asked our engineers and experts here for the best tips on just what these criminals are doing and how car owners can fight back against them.

They told us:

Number 1.      In order to steal a car, the thief doesn’t need to reprogram the key right away. The criminal just needs to bypass the vehicle immobilizer quickly using potentially bulkier equipment — and drive away. Key reprogramming can be dealt with later at a secure location with less time constraint (let’s say 15-30 minutes).

Number 2.      BMW security has a hole: It employs a relatively weak, 48-bit Hitag system that can be hacked in under 3 minutes using computer hardware costing less than $10,000. There is also a known weakness in the randomization of the security key and its dependency on the CAS (one of the vehicle’s modules) dump. Such a dump is available over OBD connector. In other words, all components for a system are available on the Internet and putting the system together does not require a lot of technical skill.

Our experts were quite sure that BWM engineers are well aware of these shortcomings and are working on tighter the security and probably on upgrading their encryption method as well. That will address BMW’s security issue — but also will make any key-cracking job harder.

Number 3.      In order to deploy such a system, one needs to bypass the vehicle alarm system. The OEM one-way security is susceptible to jamming while more sophisticated two-way systems provide real-time status feedback and have additional sensors, etc.

Get connected to your vehicle and get ahead of the criminals: Thieves will always find a way to get into your car – what you need is real-time awareness of when/where someone tries to violate your vehicle.

Watch a BMW go in under 3 minutes and a BBC report here:

BMW Owners Hit by High-Tech Theft

See the whole quick-as-lightening BMW theft video below:

We’re sure someone, somewhere in the world has failed to follow “the steps” to take after they’ve had the misfortune to have their car stolen. But seriously, do we need a list? Well, apparently so.

In 2010, auto thefts cost U.S. drivers about $4.5 billion. Although, in 2012 there has been a 3.3 percent reduction in the number of auto thefts, but that DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T EXIST ANYMORE. People get their cars stolen every day!

Now have you ever had one of those sleep-deprived days … or gotten lazy? Or maybe you parked in an unsafe area or didn’t lock your car one time and you come back to the spot to find it empty? Here is what you do.

According to this recent list from Jalopnik:

1: Make sure your car’s actually gone!  (We did say if you were having one of those sleep-deprived days, didn’t we??)

2: Now that you pinched yourself and realized you AREN’T just having a nightmare, you move on to the next step. Ask yourself if it might have been towed.

3: You should probably notify the police, right?

4: Call your vehicle security provider (if you’re lucky you have information from a Viper SmartStartGPS unit that you can relay to them).

5: Ask people nearby if they saw anything.

6: FREAK OUT. This would be a perfectly appropriate moment to let your emotions flow out. Don’t get too crazy now; you will soon be surrounded by the police!

7: Call your insurance company.

8: Look for your car online. It’s not too unlikely the thief had alternative motives, other than ruining your life, for stealing your car! Money perhaps? Maybe you can re-purchase your car vehicle and bag the crook!

9: *Sniff Sniff … Start looking for a replacement! *Sniff

10: Lastly, but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST. Learn from your mistakes!

We like this last nugget of advice the best: “Learn from it”! As in, don’t skimp on car security. And then maybe you won’t have to read the other recommendations.

Be smart, and make a vow to never have to follow these steps. EVER. Get your car protected! Choose Viper!

To read the full Jalopnik article, click here.

Think your car is safe when you drop it off at the dealership for a repair or what have you?

Well, apparently not at Autobarn Volkswagen in the Chicago area. One poor woman named Leanne Digan dropped off her ’06 Passat to fix or replace her remote key device.

To her surprise, that would be the LEAST of her worries!

While in their possession, the vehicle was stolen (and later recovered but stripped of all valueable parts).

A hard lesson to learn — but she would’ve been better off going to a car audio shop instead where she could’ve replaced the factory key with an aftermarket security system that would’ve alerted her that thieves were working the Volkswagen lot.

Let Digan’s experience be a lesson for everyone! Let’s not be so trusting, but fight back and work to protect our property by getting an effective alarm system! Imagine how the plot of this tragic experience would have shifted if she had only had an efficient car alarm — or had been able to GPS track her car! Maybe the people at the dealership would have been more aware of the situation? Or maybe they could have stopped it?

Moral of the story: Don’t wait around until it’s YOU that had to learn the hard way, be one step ahead of the game!

Read more about Digan’s dilemma from the Chicago Tribune here:

Problem Solver: Car Stolen From Dealership While in for Repair; Negotiations Stall

If you have a new car with all the latest high-tech innovations then you have less to fear about car theft!

No promises, of course. But after seeing the Top 10 list of most-stolen vehicles filled with sedans and American pickups it seems the thieves are giving up their computer-hacking days and going after the older cars with no chance of computer chips to track them down.

And that’s … a pretty smart move.

Although the thieves are stealing older versions of the newer cars, that doesn’t mean they don’t get caught because of the newer tech. It is now more common than ever for people to track down their stolen cars because they left their iPhone in their car and it has a “Find my Phone” app.

Although that can work as a freak-accident safety for your car — would you really want to take that risk??

The top 5 most-stolen vehicles are:

5. 2000 Dodge Caravan
4. 1991 Toyota Camry
3. 2006 Ford F-150
2. 1998 Honda Civic

And, drum roll, please! The top stolen vehicle is the…

1. The 1994 Honda Accord!!

If you have any of those cars, either cross your fingers it doesn’t get stolen, or get yourself an alarm system. Preferably one of the Viper systems, just to be on the safe side.

Check out the rest of the top 10 most-stolen vehicles and make sure yours isn’t on this list from Yahoo/Motoramic:

Top 10 list of most-stolen vehicles filled with foreign sedans, American pickups