OnStar follows hit-and-run drunk driver, but GM to cancel analog-only vehicles

Just a couple hours ago, late this evening on a Saturday night, I used OnStar to help police track down a hit-and-run drunk driver that crashed into the side of my car on the freeway. More details below.
A few weeks ago I posted a thread entitled "Why is it so impossible to upgrade analog OnStar?" I wrote this in response to the letter GM sent me which says that they will cancel my service beginning 2008 because I have analog technology in my 2001 Yukon Denali. Also GM will not even provide an upgrade kit option for compatibility with the digital network, even if I wanted to pay for it.
I'm here to tell you about tonight's incident because some people argued that OnStar is not a safety feature, and that I could just do the same with my cell phone. Some people tried to convince me that I should be happy I won't have to pay the OnStar renewal fees next year. Nonsense!
I was driving southbound on the 101 freeway in Hollywood, CA at 3am. A grey four door sedan was swerving wildly in the fast lane and smashed into the side of my Denali. In an attempt to get away, the driver accelerated to high speed after bouncing off my car.
My first instinct was to grab my cell phone and call 911, but it was awkward trying to get it out of my pocket while holding the steering wheel with one hand and trying to pay attention to read the car's license plate at the same time. Then I realized I have OnStar, so I put down the phone and pushed the blue button.
The OnStar rep got my GPS fix and connected us to a highway patrol officer. While following the hit-and-run driver to the 10E freeway (still swerving drunk across the lanes) I was able to give the officer a detailed description of the vehicle and the driver, all the while providing pinpoint GPS location information to the police through OnStar tracking. The officer eventually told me that they had enough info and I should stop following the vehicle.
I hope the drunk driver is caught! He/she could have killed someone!
Without OnStar it would have been dangerous to hold my cell phone, follow the car, try to give my exact location, and do all these distracting things at the same time. This kind of incident requires a lot of concentration. With OnStar I had both hands on the steering wheel to focus on safe driving, and it was so easy to just push that blue button. It is a great service!
I am frustrated however, that GM will cancel my OnStar service in 2008 because my Denali came equipped with an analog-only unit. GM sent me a letter that they won't even make an upgrade kit so that my unit would work on the new digital phone network. Why is that so difficult? Can't the engineers just swap out the phone dialing portion of the circuit? I would be willing to pay for an upgrade kit. That won't happen so in January 2008 will lose a safety feature and have useless buttons on my dash.
It's crazy that this happened to me tonight on the freeway, just after I posted about the analog OnStar issue a few weeks ago. It reminds me that this -is- a safety feature and GM should do everything to ensure that customers can keep their service if they are willing to pay for an upgrade. GM's current position on analog-only OnStar doesn't make sense. I hope some GM execs are listening.
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The gov't pigs actually tax the OnStar service, a lifesaving device. :-( Can you believe it? On the OnStar commericals, they say "16.95 PLUS tax." Well, they also tax food products. The damn parasites soak up our tax dollars, so they can spend hundreds of billions on dubious projects in some other country (Iraq) like building unused Olympic sized swimming pools in Iraq.
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I hope some

There was a news story on the Shreveport Channel 3 this morning about another driver who was in a crash, and his life was literally saved by OnStar.
May be rare, but it happens.
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This is the point where your story becomes forced. Yes - OnStar worked for you, but contrary to your assertion, so would a cell phone. GPS isn't at all necessary since all highways have mileage markers and marked on/off ramps to easily identify location. Fumbling for a cell phone in your pocket is a bit contrived. It takes a couple of seconds to get a cell phone out. Using a hands free device makes it even easier to use the phone while driving, but it's not even necessary. So - I agree that OnStar was a service to you, but you haven't made a compelling case for OnStar. You've really only made a case for an alternate technology, as nothing more than that - an alternative.

I understand your frustration because at the technology level, yes it should be pretty easy to convert to digital cellular. That said, for some reason GM has made a decision not to offer it, and I'm wondering if the aftermarket will pick up on this. There is certainly a sizeable one-time market out there. Maybe the renewal rate isn't high enough to justify the cost though.

This was a convenience feature for you. Everything can be deemed to be a safety feature if one wants to make it so by their own definition. The OnStar did not prevent the fellow from sideswiping you and it offered nothing more than what a cell phone would have offered you.
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-Mike-
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Onstar is marketed as a safety feature by GM.
Open up onstar.com and you will see the page name (which shows up as the topmost bar on most browsers): "OnStar.com, Car Safety Device and Vehicle Security System".
I guess in your view then GM is guilty of false advertising ?????
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In my view, you are in idiot. OnStar is a gimmick. Yes, it can be very helpful, but so can a cell phone.
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Will your cell phone automatically dial 911 when you slide off an icy road and hit a tree, when you are unconscious? Wow 80 Knight you must have a fancy cell phone.

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Fpbear II wrote:

i mean people actually paying for the service, onstar wasnt very popular the first few years of use. i know i have had onstar a few years with basic service and a couple of years with full service and i only used it a couple of times and dropped the service after the first year. i wonder if the people posting here actually have and use their old antalog systems
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Tom, I've had OnStar with the basic emergency subscription for 6 years and I used it 3 times for emergencies in Southern California:
1. Right in front of me, car and big-rig truck tried to change into the same lanes on the 57N freeway, car fishtailed several times, spun out and hit the center divider hard. No freeway exits or landmarks that I could identify, but I pushed the OnStar button and they sent an ambulance based on the GPS position.
2. Car spun out in the rain on the 57S freeway and hit the barrier on the right shoulder. There were several other rain related accidents within a short stretch so if I only gave an exit landmark to 911 they might have got this accident confused with another one nearby. OnStar got a precise GPS fix and relayed the info.
3. The latest incident, a drunk driver side-swiped my car and fled the scene on the 101S freeway in Hollywood. I followed while OnStar provided position to the California Highway Patrol. Allowed me to follow the hit and run driver safely while keeping both hands on the wheel.
I have also used OnStar a few times for non-emegencies. One time I had to make an urgent call home and my cell phone was not working, so I asked the OnStar operator to go ahead charge my card, add 30 minutes to my calling service, and I was able to call home in the middle of nowhere.

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I used mine once during the first "free" year. Never renewed at $400. Cell phone, map quest, takes care of most of my needs. I think about AAA once in a while but never did that either. My new car has Roadside Assistance for 5 years.
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No, it won't. And neither will your OnStar equipped vehicle, unless the air-bags deploy. If you were to only slide off the freeway, and side-swipe a tree, hitting your head on the drivers window, and going unconscious, OnStar would not be notified. I didn't mean any offence to anyone ('cept Horner). Yes OnStar can be very helpful, but IMHO it's not much better then a cell phone. OnStar has voice dialing, so does my cell phone. OnStar has GPS locating, so does my cell phone.
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I agree. I will not opt for such a service.
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I think you need to go out and buy OnStar. Just in case something really awful and bizarre happens. You never know, after all...
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Guess what you'd like, it's a free world. Just because GM markets it that way to appeal to the fear factor in some people does not make it a safety feature in my opinion. Like I said - you can call anything a safety feature if you want to.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

If it truly is a safety feature does your insurance company give you a discount for having it?
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Yes, 21st Century Insurance gives a discount for OnStar.

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My homeowner's insurance gives a discount for deadbolts - even those the doors are divided light window pane doors. A lot of good that dead bolt does, huh? But - the deadbolts are a "security" feature by some(?) definition. Likewise, insurance companies give discounts for a lot of things (defensive driving courses, ABS, and other things) many of which don't do a thing to improve bad driving habits, in the name of "safety". My point centers around the manner in which the term "safety" is so freely bantered around as if applying that word magically brings about some benefit.
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