Safety Solutions: Can OnStar Make Your Company Fleet Safer?

safer company fleet?The first half of 2014 is officially in the books, and over the past six months GM has recalled more than eight million of its vehicles. As a result, the company is more focused on safety solutions, but part of their initiative might actually make your existing company vehicles safer.

OnStar has been giving GM drivers assistance since 1995, and the automaker is constantly gathering and analyzing data from it. If your business is one of OnStar’s seven million subscribers, you could see big changes very soon.

Like what?

Right now, GM says it is using all of its OnStar data to improve the safety of their vehicles. Although GM officials won’t say exactly what’s going on behind the scenes, they do concede that there is a new VP in charge of safety leadership, along with 35 new specialists who are in charge of finding and analyzing defects and other potential safety risks.

What are they looking for?

Most of it revolves around OnStar’s diagnostic reports. OnStar keeps track of nearly 1,000 different issues in each vehicle — from the fluid levels, to the way the engine runs, to whether or not the air bags are functioning properly. Each OnStar subscriber is given a monthly diagnostic report, and all of the numbers are also sent directly to GM for analysis.

How can those numbers lead to an enhanced safety culture within your company?

Even if you pride yourself on safety excellence, having access to some additional information or even new features can make your employees markedly safer every time they hit the road. While GM is being tight-lipped about the research they are conducting, the automaker has used OnStar data to dig deeper into a number of issues in the past — including distracted driving studies, a lane departure detector study, and a study to figure out why air bags weren’t going off every time they were supposed to.

A few years ago, GM used OnStar data to spot an issue with the “check oil” light in the Cadillac CTS. Because the light wasn’t functioning the way it was supposed to be — specifically, it wasn’t notifying drivers of low oil levels soon enough — vehicle owners weren’t changing their oil as often as they should. As a result, CTS engines were subjected to a whole lot more wear and tear than they should have been, which was putting drivers at risk. Once the light was recalibrated, OnStar data showed that CTS owners were changing their oil more frequently, and their engines weren’t being forced to deal with all of that added friction. In the end, drivers were safer every time they got into the car.

We don’t yet know what it is, but improving your employees safety behind the wheel may soon get easier, depending on what GM’s latest research uncovers.

Further Reading
G.M. OnStar Data Has Potential as Safety Tool
DM Recall Over Faulty Ignition Switch

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About the Author

safetyBUILT-IN is the safety-leadership learning and development division of SCInc. We believe sustainable safety performance is best achieved through a core-values based safety culture, and that culture must be driven by leadership. Our safety-leadership programs are competency-based, and focused on performance outcomes. We believe in building capability and ownership into our client organizations—as well as sustainability into our programs—so that our clients can continue running those programs long after we’re out of the picture. Our emphasis is on building better leadership presence, better leadership communication and better leadership coaching by first building relationships of trust with people and learning how to engage them on the level of their core values and beliefs.