As a sponsor of the North American Conference on Elderly Mobility held last weekend, General Motors is highlighting its efforts towards helping elderly drivers while they are behind the wheel. This includes offering active safety technologies, providing simple access to OnStar services and directing the elderly towards cars with more spacious cabins.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the higher levels of physical, cognitive or visual impairment among older drivers can be directly associated with increased risk of being involved in an accident. Older drivers may also have longer reaction times, limited perceptual abilities and reduced dexterity in addition to taking medications, which can also impair driving ability at any age. This is where driver assistance features, such as lane departure warning, may work towards reducing road accidents among the elderly.
“The safety of all our customers is our utmost concern,” director of GM global vehicle safety, Gay Kent, said while speaking 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.”
Active safety technologies such as Rearview Back-up Cameras, Front Park Assist, Rear Park assist, Side Blind Zone Indicators, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Automatic Braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are among the assistance technologies which GM says can be helpful to the elderly.
In addition to active safety features, GM says its OnStar technology gives older drivers the peace of mind they are looking for while travelling on the road. OnStar offers services such as turn-by-turn navigation, roadside assistance, automatic crash response, remote door unlock and emergency medical dispatch. Users also have access to a live advisor at the touch of button for that extra dose of confidence.
“With 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 to the ‘Toward Zero Deaths,’ initiative,” said Jim Santilli of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan.