A CAIRNS automotive expert believes the solution to a spate of car thefts in the Far North could be the installation of a cheap tracking device.

Trips Auto Group owner Phil Packer, who has been in the rental car industry for 20 years, says car manufacturers should fit all vehicles with special GPS trackers capable of disabling a stolen car with the push of a button. He uses Telemax for his fleet and has stopped crooks in their tracks with the touch of his smartphone.

"We had one lady who left the keys in one of our hire cars and someone took off in it," he said.

Trips Auto Group owner Phil Parker, who has been in automotive industry for 20 years, says the installation of a $50 tracking device in cars could be the solution to car thefts. Enables the car to be controlled by the push of a button on a phone to disable it. Picture: Stewart McLean
Trips Auto Group owner Phil Parker, who has been in automotive industry for 20 years, says the installation of a $50 tracking device in cars could be the solution to car thefts. Enables the car to be controlled by the push of a button on a phone to disable it. Picture: Stewart McLean

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"With Telemax, I was able to follow the car and help recover the vehicle.

"It is the way forward, and can literally be installed for $50," he said.

The technology offers live video and speed and driver behaviour monitoring through a mobile app, connecting the car's computer to the software.

Mr Packer said it had been used effectively by many car rental companies to find cars and prevent crimes as they were happening.

"Obviously, there are some issues with the legality side of things in terms of disabling a car in motion," he said. It had never been a better time to be a car thief, he said, given most households own "two, even three cars".

"There is always at least one of them sitting at home, so these kids are breaking in and most times are simply going for a joy ride," he said.

"Technology needs to catch up. We need to stop these drunk kids from getting behind the wheel."

Originally published as The cheap tracking device set to stop car thieves cold



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