D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

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From its most humble beginnings – OnStar was initially nothing more than a notification device that the airbags had been deployed in three different 1997 Cadillac models – the OnStar system has evolved into a real force in automotive technology.

Today, OnStar offers class-leading safety and security services, and offers a number of high-technology perks to drivers, including turn-by-turn navigation, integrated hands-free calling for safer cell phone use, and even a mobile app on both Apple iOS and Google Android platforms that give users remote access to not just data on their automobiles, but allow for remote starting, unlocking and locking of doors and more.

OnStar has even become the primary telematics device used by a number of car insurance companies offering pay as you drive, pay by the mile or usage based insurance (UBI) policies. GMAC Insurance and State Farm both offer UBI programs for consumers that use the OnStar system.

General Motors, which owns OnStar, has announced a number of milestones racked up in the 16 years OnStar has been offered as included equipment or an aftermarket install in vehicles.

On top of the more than 191,000 Automatic Crash Response calls, the service has also provided:

  • More than 94 million Turn-by-Turn routes
  • More than 1 million Emergency Services delivered
  • 6.9 billion Hands-Free Calling minutes purchased
  • More than 581,000 Good Samaritan calls
  • More than 213 million Vehicle Diagnostic emails sent
  • More than 5.8 million Remote Door Unlocks
  • 8.5 million RemoteLink Mobile App requests
  • More than 2.9 million Roadside Assistance responses
  • 59,000 Stolen Vehicle Assistances

Do you have an automobile that’s equipped with OnStar? Has it been a significant part of your experience as a driver?