Maryland State Police to give away steering wheel locks to some Kia, Hyundai owners

This weekend, Maryland State Police will be offering steering wheel locks to owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles that use a physical key in order to start.

The free locks will be available at 14 state police barracks around Maryland, including in Rockville, College Park, Forestville and La Plata.

“It’s first-come, first-served, and you don’t need to register. Just show up at one of those 14 state police barracks between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday and we will provide one wheel lock per owner,” Elena Russo, a spokesperson with Maryland State Police, told WTOP.

Owners of some Hyundai and Kia models found themselves targeted by car thieves after social media posts around 2021 demonstrated how the cars could be stolen using a screwdriver and USB cable.

While both companies developed software to solve the vulnerability, steering wheel locks were made available to owners of the most-targeted models.

“A vehicle theft occurs in Maryland every 47 minutes. That is a lot,” Russo said.

But she also pointed out that 50% of cars that are stolen “are stolen because the owner has left the key inside,” adding 60% of stolen vehicles were unlocked when they were taken.

Russo said the steering wheel locks “can work as a visible deterrent,” but added no matter what kind of car you own, preventing vehicle theft can be as simple as “locking your car, taking your keys or key fobs with you, hiding your valuables.”

Visit the MSP website for more information.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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