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Can Safer Driving Come From Just the Push of a Button?

It’s encouraging to see that safety is no longer taking a backseat when it comes to the new models being offered by foreign and domestic automakers. Indeed, it appears that now more than ever, these automakers are investing just as much time and energy into enhancing vehicle safety than they are into coming out with the next big luxury feature.

For all these advancements, however, there are still some time-tested safety features that have — and will likely always — form the foundation of any safe vehicle from seat belts and airbags to anti-lock brakes and electronic traction control. For vehicles manufactured by auto giant General Motors, this list also includes inclusion of the OnStar system.

For those unfamiliar with OnStar, it is essentially a wireless communication system that tracks an automobile in real time and allows occupants to communicate with a live representative with just a touch of a button for a monthly fee.

What this essentially means is that in addition to providing instant directions and roadside assistance to stranded drivers, OnStar cans also do things like track stolen vehicles, unlock the doors for drivers who have locked their keys inside and, most significantly, summon emergency responders in the event a car accident has been detected.

Interestingly, OnStar recently indicated that it would soon be providing the drivers of all 2016 GM models, the majority of 2015 GM models, and a handful of 2014 and 2013 models with the chance to secure a report assessing their driving skills.

Subscribers can enroll in the 90-day program, which is designed to monitor and assess their performance in several key driving metrics, and compare it to a random pool of other participants, free of charge. At the conclusion of this 90-day period, they will be provided with a detailed report as well as some basic driving tips based on performance.

“The driver assessment is meant to help people better understand how they drive and give them feedback on how to be better, smarter drivers,” said one GM official. “This is the first time we can use actual driving behavior to deliver valuable feedback to customers who want this information.”

What are your thoughts on this new offering? Do you think it could actually help reduce car crashes? If you own a GM model and subscribe to OnStar, would you ever consider participating in the program?

Source: Carrier Management, “OnStar to offer driver feedback,” Jan. 15, 2015