General Motors On-Star System: a Life-Saver

On-Star was first installed in GM vehicles more than a decade ago. It’s a telecommunications and telematics service like no other—a unique combination of Global Positioning Satellites and cellular technology. On-Star is now standard in most GM cars. For physicians who need to depend on their cars, it's an affordable and valuable service.

A Connection Beyond

In a crash situation where airbags deploy your emergency is near instantly transmitted to first responders. Simultaneously, a specially trained On-Star advisor attempts to check with you to see if you are conscious and can give details of the incident. The On-Star advisor will actually open a connection to speak with you in the car and can listen to the occupants; so the occupants need not press anything to reply over the speaker phone. They will help make sure your wishes are followed getting you to the right hospital and contacting significant others. GPS allows the operator to know where you are within a few hundred feet. Are you down a steep ravine, unconscious? Help is on the way.

On-Star is rocket science and offers far more than emergency services. Most of the time it can be your Verizon telephone in the car offering one button service. No headset required. GM’s entertainment system telephone integration is the finest in the industry with terrific voice recognition when you speak to it. On-Star costs from $200 to $300 per year depending on the services wanted. If you are involved in any kind of emergency, tornado, forest fire, bridge collapse, earthquake, crash, the advisor will have special information to help you through the disaster. On-Star helped thousands during Hurricane Katrina.

A Real HelpShould you be locked out of your car, dial an 800-number, identify yourself and they’ll unlock the doors. Forget where you parked? They’ll flash your lights and beep your horn until you find the car. On-Star offers a unique kind of built-in turn-by-turn navigation that simply talks you through driving directions. No screen navigation. On some GM cars you can also add an independent navigation system with pleasant robotic voice.

Besides the technology, the secret of the On-Star system is their highly-skilled, always-on operators. We have test driven many GM vehicles with On-Star and every time we had an intelligent, thoughtful advisor who kept us calm and walked us through what was needed.

Now On-Star offers more information to first responders than ever before. New GM vehicles with On-Star can tell first responders the speed and direction of impact even if airbags do not deploy. If your car is stolen not only can it be located but On-Star may be able to arrange for the police to meet the theft at an arranged location where the On-Star advisor actually slows down then shuts off the car with the police near. So long to those crazy chases.

Need to find a place to eat and you’re out of your comfort zone? Ask On-Star for restaurants, gas stations, places of interest, ATMs, all without being distracted by buttons. Virtual Advisor keeps gives you local traffic, weather, and stock quotes. The typical help items like roadside assistance and other convenience services are rounded out by diagnostics. Should a warning light flash, On-star can offer in-car moving diagnosis. You can even receive regular detailed diagnostics reports via e-mail. Ride Assist calls you a cab if for some reason you find yourself incapable of driving.

The many services provided make this value-added program good sense for physician-motorists—no insurance company or roadside plan offers as much. That’s why we’re most enthusiastic about this technology, encouraging all automakers to follow suit. For more information, just visit On-Star.

Monthly Average of On-Star Responses Include*: 400 stolen vehicle locations

1,000 air bag notifications

380 advanced automatic crash notifications

6,000 Good Samaritan calls

11,400 emergency calls

47,000 remote vehicle diagnostics

27,000 roadside assistance calls

50,000 remote door unlocks

353,000 routing calls

14,000,000 On-Star hands-free calls

* On-Star website