Blundering carjackers foiled because they didn’t know how to drive manual vehicle

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A rash of carjackings in the US capital has been recorded in recent months – but the latest was foiled not by police but by sheer incompetence.

Shortly before 9pm on October 7 three would-be carjackers approached a man in Washington’s luxurious Silver Spring district.

They assaulted the man, taking his car keys and other items, but then the criminals’ plan started going wrong.

The crooks got into the vehicle but – according to a report from Montgomery County police – they failed to make their escape because “they did not know how” to drive a manual transmission car.

Police released CCTV images of the bungling crooks

The crooks are among a rapidly growing number of Americans who don’t know how to drive a stick shift. US News and World Report says as few as 18% of Americans can actually drive a manual transmission vehicle.

Even in the UK, where automatic cars don’ have the popularity they enjoy stateside, the balance of power seems to be shifting.

Most recent figures show there are just 829,277 people in the UK who hold automatic-only licenses. That number’s a long way short of the 39,688,706 drivers with manual licences.

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police- Major Crimes Division are investigating the crime

But between 2012 and 2018 the number of auto-only licenses has risen by 289,319—an amazing 52.6% increase.

As electric and hybrid vehicles become increasingly widespread the auto-only test is an increasingly popular choice.

The number of people taking manual tests fell by 2.5% in the 10 years between 2007 and 2018. It’s not a massive change but over that same period the number of automatic tests rose by 133%.

While the traditional Category B licence is still much more widespread, auto licences are gaining fast.

In the very long term, the ability to drive a manual shift vehicle will become a minority skill. But for carjackers, it’s probably wise to know how to drive either type of transmission for now.

Police said the failed carjackers made their escape on foot, and a manhunt is under way.





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