I often get asked if it is possible to wire a GPS Tracker up to immobilise a vehicle whilst it is running.
The answer is always a very firm No. The only safe thing to immobilise is the starter motor.
It is not OK to immobilise a running vehicle!
Let me explain why having the option to stop a moving vehicle is a bad idea as well as what the legal implications of doing so would be.
Here’s the scenario in your head:
A scumbag has taken your car, but you have a tracker which can kill the engine with. You send a text and the car comes to a halt and you can recover it quickly.
I totally understand the desire to do this and the deep down I love the idea of catching a thieving tosser and dishing out some justice.
The reality is that the driver no longer has control of the car and there is a risk of the vehicle becoming involved in an accident.
It’s not just the thief who could be hurt, there is also the risk that an innocent third party may get caught up and seriously hurt or even killed.
Then comes all the legal stuff about who is liable should a crash result from your actions. You could argue that you the owner or sender of the text message are responsible, maybe it’s karma if the thief gets hurt!
The hard truth of it is that it falls on the product manufacturer, re-seller and installer. Most trackers come with a disclaimer stating that the immobiliser function is only designed to be wired up to the starter motor for this very reason.
Doing things within the law
When I was installing RAC Trackstar in the UK back in 2004 it was possible to wire up the fuel pump to bring the vehicle to a halt.
This worked by slowly pulsing the fuel off gradually stopping the vehicle. It would only ever be done when the police had a visual on the vehicle. The police would have communication with the RAC Trackstar control centre so it could be done under controlled conditions.
Here in New Zealand, we do not yet have such a system available.
Until such a time that we catch up, it is simply not an option. Besides which if you have an effective immobiliser which is well installed then you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of your car being driven off in the first place!