GM offers $20 ‘endless entertainment’

Responding to the tremendous growth of vehicle-based Internet use, General Motors has added a $20 unlimited data plan to most of its vehicles. Owners of GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as of today have access to the $20-a-month prepaid plan. The move dramatizes the extent to which vehicles are being seen as living rooms on wheels. The automaker billed the hotspot service as providing "endless entertainment on the go." GM says Chevy owners gobbled up more than 4 million gigabytes of data last year. More than 3 million vehicles have access to the hotspot … [Read more...]

Quebec: Distracted driving news

Quebec's new transportation minister wants the federal government to consider criminalizing electronic distracted driving. Laurent Lessard said he would ask Canadian minister Marc Garneau to study the issue to see "what elements of criminalization would be involved." Lessard's comments to reporters came Aug. 23, shortly after a Quebec coroner, Michel Ferland, called for making cell phone use by drivers a crime in cases of death or serious injury. Lessard has just succeeded Jacques Daoust as transport chief. Transportation minister Lessard also said he was looking into toughening the … [Read more...]

New distracted driving laws in Miss., N.H.

Texting while driving is now illegal in Mississippi, while New Hampshire motorists will have to have to put down their wireless devices or face a ticket. Mississippi is a latecomer to the texting & driving issue, being the 45th state to ban the distracted driving practice. Gov. Phil Bryant approved the law in mid-March. Mississippi drivers caught texting while behind the wheel are subject to fines beginning at $25, but they go up to $100 in summer 2016. The originating legislation -- House Bill 389 — also outlaws social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use. In an … [Read more...]

For Ray LaHood, a standing ovation

Early critics were amazed to find DOT chief Ray LaHood campaigning, fiercely, against drivers' use of distracting electronic devices such as cell phones. He took it as a compliment. "Am I on a rampage?" LaHood said in the early years of his term. "Yes, I am, and why shouldn't I be?" Politicians and bureaucrats don't talk that way, but LaHood did. He cited a rising national death toll as drivers increasingly talked & texted their way down our streets and highways. Who can say how many lives (many of them young) were saved as LaHood used the DOT's bully pulpit in his campaign against … [Read more...]

Multimedia cars on parade at CES

This year's CES confirmed that automakers are indeed quickening the pace toward making their vehicles hubs of electronic information and entertainment. "Connected vehicle" systems and safe-driving technologies co-existed and co-mingled at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Toyota and Hyundai unveiled new wireless communications and data systems for their vehicles, while GM's popular OnStar service announced it was expanding into other carmakers' vehicles. Ford rolled out its first electric car, with "wireless connected vehicle services" designed by partner Airbiquity. “The … [Read more...]