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Motorists say no to remote stopping in cars

Survey reveals driver disdain for measures that would allow police to stop a car at the touch of a button.

An European Union plan to introduce remote stopping devices into vehicles that would allow the boys in blue to stop any vehicle at the touch of a button has been met with criticism from motorists and driving groups.

Remote stopping was revealed in confidential documents from a committee of a senior EU police officers leaked by StateWatch. The document from December 4th, 2013 said: “Criminal offenders will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases the police are unable to chase the criminal due to a lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely.”

“This project will work on a technological solution that can be a “built in standard” for all cars that enter the European market,” it added. Reports say remote stopping could be built into all new cars by the end of 2020.

A survey by insurance comparison website Comparethemarket.com found 47 per cent of respondents felt the measure would ‘lead to a Big Brother state’. 46 per cent said they were concerned police could abuse their new powers, while 29 per cent believed such a device ‘could lead to more accidents than it prevents’.

24 per cent of those surveyed said any form of remote stopping device would actually dissuade them from buying a car. 48 per cent, however, said they would back the idea if it meant they could activate the device themselves in, for example, the event of their car being stolen.

“The idea of being able to remotely stop all vehicles would have once been confined to the storyline of a sci-fi movie,” motor insurance head Julie Daniels said. “However we’re seeing more and more technology developments playing a part in the way we drive vehicles.

“Our research shows there is still some work to be done before the UK supports remote stopping, with real concern around civil liberties.”

The device works by cutting a vehicle’s fuel supply and turning the ignition switch off, all of which is done from a computer at a police headquarters. It is meant to end the need for dangerous high-speed chases, which endanger road users.

The Big Brother state is already creeping in. Black box insurance devices are becoming much more popular because of high insurance premiums. The UK also happens to be the surveillance capital of the world, with one CCTV camera for every 14 people, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

A necessary evil or a step too far? Your thoughts appreciated.

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