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General Motors recently announced the arrival of its newest onboard technology called “Marketplace.” The service app works through the onboard infotainment system. Consumers can use the center console to get recommendations about local dining and hotels as well as nearby gas stations. Then they can also access and purchase the items through the Marketplace app and even pay from inside the car.
The National Safety Council (NSC), a consumer safety advocacy group, immediately criticized the GM innovation as unsafe. In a written statement, NSC president, Deborah Hersman said that there is nothing safe about Marketplace and that it could create more wrecks and drive up car accident fatality numbers.
Last year U.S. motor vehicle accident fatalities were up by 5.6 percent. Groups like the NSC believe that distracted driving played a part in the increase. GM claims that it considered the risks of distracted driving when designing Marketplace and considers their app safer than mobile phone use. A spokesman for the company emphasized that GM used the self-imposed driver distraction guidelines agreed upon by car makers when Marketplace was designed. GM deliberately reduced the number of steps required to purchase something while driving. However, the NSC feels that car makers who introduce technology as safe are misleading consumers about the risk of using it while driving.
All GM 2017 and 2018 cars equipped with the MyLink infotainment system will automatically receive the Marketplace app wirelessly. The estimated four million GM owners affected do not have a choice about receiving the update.
While onboard wireless internet is necessary for eventual implementation of autonomous features, GM has made known its interests in using it for additional sources of revenue. The recommendations that consumers will receive through Marketplace are only those of affiliate brands that have agreements with GM to be able to appear in the service. Starbucks, TGI Fridays, and Dunkin’ Donuts Inc. are some of the companies who have signed on.
The app uses the vehicle’s location to recommend nearby stores and it tracks what the driver buys. GM will send personalized marketing offers to drivers by collecting their personal data. They also see the acquisition of driver data as another way to make money.
In a demonstration of the Marketplace app, the process of ordering coffee took five taps on the center console. If each took just a second that was five seconds of distraction. Studies show that even one second of attention paid to something other than driving is enough to cause an accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, we can help you determine your legal options for recovering compensation. Contact Rhoades & Morrow to speak to an experienced Bear car accident lawyer about your situation. An initial consultation is free of charge so call 302-834-8484 today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear and Milford, we advocate for clients throughout Delaware including those in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.