The National Safety Council (NSC) had a clear reaction to car maker General Motor’s unveiling of its new onboard Marketplace app. In an interview with Bloomberg Technology, NSC president, Deborah Hersman said the app will contribute to the problem of distracted driving.
Last year in the U.S., fatalities from auto accidents rose by 5.6 percent to more than 37,000. Distracted driving played a part in 25 percent of all vehicle crashes. The new Marketplace app makes it possible for consumers to browse nearby restaurants, hotels, and gas stations and make reservations or purchases, all from the comfort of the driver’s seat.
GM claims it designed the new app with distracted driving concerns in mind using the voluntary guidelines jointly developed by car makers. A spokesman for the company says there was a deliberate attempt to minimize the number of touches involved in purchasing something. However, the NSC is critical of the way carmakers market new technologies. Drivers are likely to get a false impression that the car is doing everything, thereby minimizing the risk to the driver. In a demonstration of the Marketplace app, five touches were required to order coffee. If every touch takes a second of time, then a driver ordering coffee has diverted his or her attention for five seconds – more than enough to cause an accident.
Marketplace works by recommending a variety of local locations for dining, lodging, and refueling on the car’s center console. The recommendations only come from businesses who have partnership agreements with GM. TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts are some of the companies likely to pop up on the screen as are Shell and ExxonMobil. The Marketplace app knows your location and tracks what you buy to personalize the marketing offers you receive. GM said that the time consumers spend in their cars is the only part of their day not accessible to most retailers and brands. The average person spends 46 minutes of the day driving and it seems GM is determined to reach consumers during that time.
GM has expressed an interest in creating an app store accessible from the infotainment system in their cars. They also see the acquisition of driver data as a possible source of revenue. Marketplace is being added to about 4 million 2017 and 2018 model year vehicles that have the GM MyLink infotainment system. Because it can be added wirelessly, owners do not have a choice about the update.
When it comes to technology and automation, the NSC is on board. In the past, it has been supportive of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Automated Vehicle Policy which enables research and development by car makers and states in the field of automated driving. However, referring to the new GM Marketplace app, Hersman said there is nothing about it that is safe.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, we can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact a skilled West Chester car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. to discuss your case and review your options. We offer free consultations so call 610-565-3700 today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our offices are conveniently located in Media and West Chester serving clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and the entire five-county greater Philadelphia area.