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
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
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.