TikTok “Kia Boyz” Trend Leads To Stolen Cars and Nearly Kills Teens
TikTok has given birth to some astounding trends, some harmless and some very much harmful. But nothing seems to be as crazy right now as the "Kia" trend, which shows kids how to hotwire Kia vehicles thanks to a design flaw involving USB ports. Apparently, a similar trick for Hyundais have shown up on the social media app as well.
Law enforcement agencies are on high alert right now and sounding the alarm about the dangerous trend, which originated in 2021 but has gained a massive following in 2022.
The Daily Dot explains the trend has a renewed audience after a TikTok user uploaded a video, enraged at the damage done to her car.
“My ignition was torn apart,” she says, obviously distraught. “There are two flat tires, and now my car is in the fucking tow yard.” Her video has garnered over 10 million views since it was shared Tuesday.
In the comments of her original TikTok, Kitty says 60 cars were reported stolen in the last week in Charlotte. There have also been reports of Kia and Hyundai thefts in Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and Florida.
The trend comes from the thieves filming themselves stealing and joyriding. Plenty of evidence and tutorials have been posted to TikTok and Instagram, and victims have documented the aftermath as well.
As a result, teens are now hotwiring cars and going on dangerous joyrides in various parts of the country. One of the most recent incidents happened in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It wasn't immediately clear if the teens were taking part in the trend or if they were just acting on their own prerogative, but the trend has been making an impact across the country. It's gotten so bad that Indiana residents have filed a class action lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai.
The issue, they say, has to do with certain safety standards not being met by the manufacturers.
According to the lawsuit, one of the reasons older Kia and Hyundai cars can so easily be stolen is that they do not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that requires vehicles to have a starting system that, once they ignition key is removed, prevents the activation of the engine and locks the steering column.
In the “defective” vehicles, the lawsuit claims, “neither steering nor forward self-mobility is prevented. If it were, the vehicles would not be stolen at alarming rates … All a thief needs to do is strip the ignition column, exposing a piece that pops off, and then stick (in) a USB drive, a knife or some other similar tool, to start the vehicle without a key or code.”
The plaintiffs argue that considering the number of people who charge their cell phones in their car using a USB cable inside the vehicle, the only tool needed to steal a Kia or Hyundai “is usually readily available to any thief.”
The viral social media app has been home to several trends over the years. Some are relatively harmless, like the tortilla challenge, in which two people slap each other with tortillas while trying not to spit out the mouthful of water they have. Other trends, like the "blackout challenge" have left teens injured or dead.
Parents, be careful if your child has a cell phone. TikTok can be a source of great fun, but when it comes to kids doing stupid things for social media influence, it's perhaps the worst home for such practices.