A motorist nearly ended up being involved in a crash on a busy road after a loan company used a remote ‘kill switch’ to shut the car off – because a loan repayment had been missed.
A Starter Interrupt Device (SID) was used while T. Candice Smith was driving down a three-lane interstate in Las Vegas with a passenger, causing the steering wheel to lock and then the engine to shut off completely.
The 31-year-old and her passenger were unharmed, but had to physically push the vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic to prevent other motorists from crashing.
“I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted and there was nothing I could do to stop them. It was very scary,” she told the Mirror newspaper.
SIDs, which are fitted to more than two million vehicles in the US, are commonly used to allow US borrowers with poor credit ratings access to loans. They prevent a motorist from starting the engine until a missed payment has been made.
Manufacturer of SIDs say they are not designed to shut down a moving vehicle. Smith has since testified in a trial in a bid to try and get the dangerous practice banned.
“We want to help [borrowers] get on their feet but sometimes it does require a very consistent reminder and in some cases the disablement of the start of their vehicle if they haven’t made their payment on time,” David Sailors of SID manufacturer Lender Systems told the New York Times.