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.
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.