Automatic crash notification systems, like GM’s OnStart, can recognize the occurrence of a crash. They can even summon emergency responders if needed. Though a positive safety development, consumers’ use of such systems has been below expectations. This is perhaps in part because of fees associated with these services.
Cell Phones SOS
However, drivers may have a new option: their own cell phones. Several companies have created cell phone-based apps that purport to do the same thing. GPS and/or the phones’ built-in accelerometers are utilized to identify a high-g event (a crash). If the driver does not respond, the phone contacts emergency services. EMS, or other pre-selected emergency contacts, receive the location of the vehicle so they can respond.
Some also feature a “panic button” that can activate the system even if a crash has not occurred, offering more peace of mind. And if you’re wondering, yes, these systems can differentiate between high-energy events like a crash, and simply dropping your phone or having to brake hard.