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Durbin Presses Department of Transportation, Auto Industry to Take Coordinated Action to Address Carjackings

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is pressing the Biden Administration, vehicle manufacturers, and law enforcement groups to work together to prevent and respond to the recent surge in carjackings.  In two letters sent to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Durbin urged the development of uniform standards for swift law enforcement access to vehicle location tracking data in carjacking incidents.

“While addressing this growing problem requires action by a range of government, law enforcement, industry, and community stakeholders, the Department of Transportation can play a key role in promoting better coordination between vehicle manufacturers and law enforcement,” Durbin wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Specifically, I urge the Department to work with the auto industry and law enforcement to coordinate uniform and standardized methods for law enforcement to seek vehicle manufacturers’ assistance in locating stolen vehicles.”

Durbin went on to detail how the current procedures for law enforcement agencies to access information from auto manufacturers about carjacked vehicles vary widely across the industry, which often results in unnecessary delays that impact law enforcement’s ability to effectively investigate and combat these crimes.

In a letter to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Durbin argues that the alarming increase in carjackings around the country underscores the need for industry coordination and public-private partnership to prevent and respond to these crimes.

“The auto industry must do more to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to combat carjacking,” Durbin wrote. “Developing uniform industry procedures to make it easier for law enforcement to contact manufacturers and access valuable location data on stolen vehicles would be an important first step… and I am prepared to support this effort in any way I can.”

During a December Judiciary Committee field hearing in Chicago, Durbin asked U.S. Attorney John Lausch what specific steps his office is taking in conjunction with local law enforcement to combat carjackings.  Durbin went on to echo Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s appeals to car manufacturers to provide additional tools to investigate these crimes.

Full text of the letter to DOT is available here.

Full text of the letter to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation is available here.