The other day I received this information from a friend. It involves the manner in which the door locks work on many of the newer cars. I feel that this is a serious safety issue that could put someone’s life at risk. First, here is the article my friend sent me followed by some additional information I found.
“Some car models, at least newer GM products, will unlock the doors when you stop and put the car into park… For the second time in a few months, I have a rental car as a result of flying to an event. To make things worse, much as I like this Impala, there is no owner’s manual with it, so I can’t tell if there is a way to unscrew that. It is utterly unsafe and too stupid for words. I, of course, habitually disable the inside lights and chimes (to which I refer as “shoot me” lights and chimes) in my own cars. If that can’t be done, I will not buy the car.
My own pickup is now 15 years old. When I purchased it, I had to change the key-remote setting so that it would not unlock all four doors with a single press. When I had an electrically operated bed cover installed, I had to specify that I did not want the default setting, in which the same remote operates the bed cover and the doors. This way, if I should need to provide the ignition key to someone doing work on the truck, I do not have to provide access to the bed area, where I secure a long gun.(The tailgate is also secured with a key lock, which key is not on the same ring as the ignition key.) As to the interior light coming on when the door is opened, on many vehicles, that can be negated by setting the brightness of the dashboard lights at the lowest setting. As to rental vehicles, I confirmed that GM owner manuals are available online and I suspect that other companies post their manuals as well.”
I have done some research on this and found out that quite a few of the newer cars have this feature. On many cars when you put it into park, all four doors unlock. This can make you vulnerable to an attacker. I found one instance in which it resulted in a death.
In 2012 a US government agent was killed in Mexico while driving a $120,000 armored Chevy Suburban. At the time, they were forced off the road by members of a drug cartel and when they put the car in park, the doors unlocked automatically.
There are ways in many different models that you can change the settings to eliminate the problem. But be aware that if the computer is reset, by battery failure or replacement, the computer will revert to the default setting, leaving the car vulnerable again.
If you own or have to rent a car that has this serious safety issue, you can get around it by putting the transmission in neutral and using handbrake. I am in total agreement with Ed on the fact that you should be able to disarm the shoot me lights.