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Still Hold a Bluetooth Phone To Your Ear When Driving? You're Not Alone

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author photo by Autotrader September 2010

A new study by General Motors shows that only 45 percent of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners have paired (wirelessly connected) their cellular phones to their vehicle's Bluetooth system. It's fair to assume that many owners of other vehicle brands are also under-using the technology.

There are two possible reasons for the lack of connection. First, owners may not know their cars have the feature; second, they think making the connection is too difficult.

Either way, GM is concerned that fewer people using Bluetooth means more people holding their phones up to their ears while driving, a well-proven safety hazard and illegal in many states.

Complicating matters for GM is the company's own Hands-Free Calling Technology, part of the OnStar system available in GM vehicles. Hands-Free Calling allows drivers to make calls through voice dialing – a function many Bluetooth phones allow as well. The two are not necessarily redundant: Hands-Free Calling is designed for better reception and fewer dropped calls in remote areas and pockets of limited cellular reception.

To clarify matters, GM has created a new web site, gm.com/handsfree. Once there, users can learn about the differences between Bluetooth and OnStar Hands Free Calling. Through interactive features, consumers can select their vehicle and mobile device to receive specific instructions on pairing their Bluetooth device to the vehicle and on using Hands-Free Calling. The Hands-Free Calling area has instructional videos as well.

GM is also launching an awareness campaign to encourage its car buyers to take advantage of the systems in their cars.

"There's no question that cellular device use in the vehicle is and will continue to be one of the biggest safety challenges facing society," said OnStar President Chris Preuss.

"Technology will play a key role in mitigating this impact, but we cannot over-assume engagement just because we provide the capability. This education and awareness campaign is designed to encourage use of hands-free technology because we take driver distraction and safety very seriously."

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Still Hold a Bluetooth Phone To Your Ear When Driving? You're Not Alone - Autotrader