Minimizing Distracted Driving Through Partnerships

Jul 25, 2018 2:00 PM ET
Students from 50 schools in Southeastern Michigan tried out the Augmented Reality Simulator to better understand the risks of being distracted while driving.

Minimizing Distracted Driving Through Partnerships

According to the World Health Organization, about 1.25 million people are killed and millions more are injured on the world’s roadways each year. Research has shown that distracted driving is a preventable contributor to this toll. As we work toward our vision of a future with zero crashes, we are always looking for more ways General Motors can collaborate with others committed to creating safe roads for drivers.

Recognizing that road safety is not just about safe vehicles and that motorists also need to drive responsibly, we support various education efforts and industry partnerships that increase awareness and produce measurable road safety results. Two major focus areas of our programs and research involve enhancing awareness of distracted driving and positively changing driver behavior to help minimize the risks from distraction. Some of our current and past partnerships include:

  • Detroit Public Safety Foundation Drive to Thrive Program — We recently funded a pilot program to help 100 students in the Detroit area obtain valid driver’s licenses through an after-school and weekend program that addressed distracted driving as a component of the curriculum. According to the foundation, approximately 90 percent of program-eligible students did not have driver’s licenses but were driving anyway. 
  • Crash Text Dummy Campaign — Last March, we partnered with to launch Crash Text Dummy, a peer-to-peer social change campaign designed to decrease the number of crashes related to texting and driving. As part of the campaign, 56,000 young people shared an interactive text-message guide with their friends that coached them on how to respond when they witnessed their family or friends texting and driving. Results showed that 81 percent of participants agreed strongly that Crash Text Dummy made them feel more confident intervening.
  • PEERS Foundation Augmented Reality Simulator — We helped the PEERS Foundation upgrade its existing distracted driving simulator and conducted a tour of 50 high schools in Southeastern Michigan to increase awareness, knowledge and skills of vehicle and road safety issues around distracted driving.
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Safety Council and Safe Kids Worldwide — We support leading organizations that include elements of distracted driving reduction in their overall programming.
  • ­Research Partnerships with the Virginia Tech and University of Michigan Transportation Research Institutes — Over the last two decades, General Motors has collaborated with academic institutions to increase understanding of driver behaviors and how to effectively measure distraction in a lab environment. These institutions have been key to analyzing more than 50 million miles of field data and providing insights into how distraction, aggressive driving and other forms of impairment impact driver safety. Learnings from these collaborations assist in the development of General Motors’ safety policies and strategies around in-vehicle infotainment technology. Along with having a critical role in evaluating and developing the form and behavior of advanced features such as camera views, automatic braking and Super Cruise™, General Motors’ flagship semi-autonomous feature, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has also assisted in the development of our newest driver distraction lab. Leveraging technology that enables any vehicle to act as the simulator cockpit, the lab provides highly accurate estimates of how new infotainment features impact eye glance behaviors on a real road. The refreshed lab is currently being used to develop and validate the latest generation of infotainment features.

“General Motors works year-round to find ways to help drivers reduce the risks of distractions,” said Daniel Glaser, Ph. D., driver workload technical lead and senior driver performance researcher for General Motors.  “We’ll continue to support organizations and collaborations that share our goal of minimizing — and ultimately eliminating — distraction related crashes.”

Want to become a safer driver? Here are a few tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Always buckle up. Don’t begin driving until you and your passengers are safely buckled in.
  • Focus on the drive. Avoid engaging in other activities while driving. Put your mobile phone on Do Not Disturb and place it in a location that discourages you from picking it up or interacting with it while driving. If you must take a call, use hands-free technology. Eyes up, phones down.
  • Be prepared. Confirm your destination and route before you start your commute. Adjust your speed when driving in inclement conditions and allow time for traffic and weather delays.
  • Be alert in parking lots and decks. Visibility in parking lots or structures may be obstructed. Use caution and stay alert, especially when backing up or navigating corners.
  • Never drive impaired. Designate a non-drinking driver or use a ridesharing service if your plans include alcohol. Never let friends or family drive impaired.

Preparation and planning are key to arriving safely and are good safety investments for you and your loved ones.

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