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How Driving a Stick Shift Can Prevent Carjacking

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

If you're really worried about encountering a carjacker, you may want to consider a manual transmission in your next car. A would-be carjacker's evil plan in St. Louis was recently foiled by a standard transmission (yes, a standard transmission is a manual, not an automatic).

The victim of the attempted carjacking in St. Louis was threatened at gun point to exit his vehicle and empty his pockets. When the carjacker attempted to drive off, he couldn't figure out how to operate the manual transmission and was forced to abandon his criminal plans. The victim attributes his survival to being polite, following instructions, and having a stickshift.

Manual Transmission as Anti-Carjacking Measure

The story out of St. Louis isn't the first time a car thief or carjacker's inability to work a stick prevented the theft. It seems like every year, there is at least one news story on the subject. While the thought of a thief struggling to work a gearbox may delight some enough to opt for rarely selected option, is it really an effective security tool?

With less and less manual gearboxes being sold on new cars, it would make sense that less and less of America's drivers would be learning to drive stick shifts. Particularly for younger carjackers, who learned to drive on an automatic transmission, a clutch could be as a big a deterrent to theft as not having the keys. Remember, a carjacker is someone who steals a car directly from the operator, so there is no need to break into the car, nor to hot wire the car.

Carjacker Liability for Failed Carjacking

Just because the carjacker failed due to their inability to drive a stick, that doesn't mean they will get away with only being embarrassed, as one unlucky, unskilled Utah carjacker learned. When a carjacker fails, they can still be charged with attempted theft. And if they got the car to move, they could be charged with joyriding or grand larceny.

The legal terms for the various legal criminal charges will vary from state to state, but the embarrassment suffered is universal in the US.

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