General Motors Works to Keep Aging Drivers Safe
As a sponsor of the North American Conference on Elderly Mobility, General Motors has decided to take some time this week to demonstrate the numerous ways it is investing in technology that will keep aging drivers safe behind the wheel. The American automaker believes that its combination of active safety technologies, OnStar services, and spacious cabins is key to the safety of elderly drivers.
Unfortunately, aging drivers often experience limited perceptual abilities, reduced dexterity, and increased reaction times. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points to numerous studies that demonstrate that these conditions lead to a higher risk of being involved in an accident. On top of that, a large portion of older drivers take medications that can impair their driving ability.
Fortunately, however, General Motors offers a suite of active safety technologies on its model lineup. These technologies include Forward Collision Alert, Front Automatic Braking, Front Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, Rearview Back-Up Camera, and Side Blind Zone Indicators.
“The safety of all our customers is our utmost concern,” said Gay Kent, director, GM global vehicle safety and a presenter at the conference. “The great thing about many of our active safety technologies is that some, like the vibrating haptic seat, provide intuitive, non-visual cues to avoid startling the driver and prevent information overload or confusion.”
GM engineers and designers also stress the idea of spaciousness and comfort to keep aging drivers safe. Specifically, they focus on foot room and easy entrances/exits from the vehicle.
“We have hosted many customer clinics to assess customer preference and requirements,” Kent explained. “The information we gain through this research drives our teams’ design decisions as we work to incorporate their feedback. We have been able to increase the ease with which our customers enter and exit our seats over the last decade.”
And, as always, OnStar technology gives all drivers, regardless of age, peace of mind behind the wheel. Services like Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Medical Dispatch, Remote Door Unlock, Roadside Assistance, and Turn-by-Turn Navigation have been literal lifesavers.
“Advanced safety technologies such as those found in GM vehicles, make our roads safer for everyone by sensing potential hazards and warning the driver to take appropriate actions to help prevent a crash from occurring,” said Jim Santilli, executive director, Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan. WWith elderly drivers generally experiencing decreased visual performance and reaction time, these advanced safety technologies are especially beneficial to this age group. Vehicles with these technologies will help us with our goal to move closer Toward Zero Deaths.”