Vehicle App Downloads Increase As Temperatures Decrease

Grandpa may not understand how to use Facebook but he sure wasn’t going to go out in -50°F windchill to start up his car! The polar vortex brought many troubles, challenges, and delays to Michigan drivers. The bone-chilling wind and subzero temperatures were horrifying enough that even technophobic people downloaded and used mobile connected apps to self start their vehicle engines.

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On January 30, 2019, self-starting apps were used more than 59 million times, which is a 70% increase from an average day in January, according to General Motors. These apps include myChevrolet, myBuick, myGMC, and myCadillac.

Santiago Chamorro, GM’s Vice President for Global Connected Customer Experience said, “With access to an app that connects directly to the vehicle, our customers are able remote start their vehicle from anywhere, and avoid spending extra time outside during unpleasant weather conditions."

GM stated that Michigan, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Minnesota were the states with the most users hitting “start” on their phones to warm up their vehicles.

According to USA Today, the GM vehicle self-starting app was introduced 9 years ago and was the auto industry’s first connected mobile app. In addition to starting up their engines, GM owners of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles can also check their vehicle's oil life, tire pressure, and fuel level. The app can even help drivers locate the car if it’s ever lost.

Other automotive brands have also jumped at the vehicle app trend. For example, Chrysler vehicles such as Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and FIAT have Uconnect, Toyota has Toyota Owners, and the Ford Motor Company has FordPass. All of these apps allow drivers to start their vehicle engines, check their vehicle's oil life, tire pressure, fuel level, locates the car in a crowded parking lot, and some even allow users to sound the vehicle's horn and flash the headlights. Though connected car apps used to only be a feature in luxury vehicles, like BMW’s BMW Connected Drive, this technology has become widely available for most newer model vehicles regardless of their price tag.

There is nothing like stepping into a toasty car on a frosty morning, and thanks to automakers’ mobile connected apps, many people can start off their morning drive without worrying about their hands freezing and sticking to the steering wheel! However, there are dangers to letting a car warm up. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog recently informed readers of some bad habits drivers carry out that can hurt their vehicles. One such bad habit is letting the engine idle too long in an effort to warm up the car. According to AutoBlog, “idling for too long causes buildup on the spark plugs, rendering them less efficient. This may be bad news for your wallet, too, as it wastes gas.”


Mobile connected apps have made winter driving a bit more tolerable for Michigan drivers. However, the winter driving dangers of icy roads, vision-impairing snowfall, and other car accident causing winter driving threats still exist. Car accidents may lead to serious injuries and seriously expensive medical bills. Like a snow plow clearing the road, the car accident attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC help clear up the legal process for victims of car crashes. For a free legal consultation with a Michigan accident attorney, call 844.4MI.FIRM.

New Tech May Prevent Hot Car Child Deaths

On average, 37 children die every year due to being left in a hot car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since 1998, a devastating total of 772 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. It’s heartbreaking that so many young lives have been lost, and although these fatalities are 100% preventable, the number continues to rise each year. Newsweek reported that as of July 24, there have been 28 hot car deaths reported so far, with an additional 3 child hot car deaths currently under investigation.

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It is difficult to imagine that a parent or guardian could forget their child in the car, yet according to San Antonio Express News, this is the case for approximately half of the reported heatstroke incidents. While stories of children being intentionally left in hot vehicles receive a lot of media attention, this type of hot car fatality occurs less frequently. Parents do not always have to be directly involved, because the NHTSA claims that approximately every 3 in 10 heat stroke fatalities take place when children are playing and decide to climb into unattended, unlocked vehicles.

In just a few minutes, the inside of a car can climb up to 125 °F. This is a dangerous temperature for any human, but it is especially dangerous for children because, “a child's body temperatures rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.” For perspective, according to the NHTSA, “a core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.” Temperature increases occur in the first 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. That is why, even if the windows are left cracked, it is never acceptable to leave children alone in vehicle.

In recent years, technology has been developed to help remind parents to check their backseat, with the goal of preventing children from being left in the vehicle. Since over half of the hot car death cases involve caretakers unintentionally forgetting children, increased use of this new technology has the potential to significantly lower the annual fatality rate. San Antonio Express News recently published an article naming three technology-based options parents can take advantage of to protect the safety of their child, which are discussed below.

In early 2018, car-seat company Cybex released “SensorSafe” technology into their Sirona model car seat. The chest buckle of the car seat is connected via bluetooth to the car and the caretaker’s cell phone. When the buckle is closed, a bluetooth connection is activated. Once the vehicle’s ignition is turned off, a series of alerts are sent to the car dashboard and the connected phone. The car buckle must be unclasped in 4 minutes, or else additional alerts will be sent, not only to the parent, but also to emergency contacts listed. Parents can choose to click either “ignore” or “acknowledge” on the notification itself, showing that they were indeed aware that their child was still in the car seat. Once the belt is unclasped, the bluetooth connection is deactivated. While the Sirona car seat retails for $329.99, it uses cutting edge technology that could be extremely helpful to parents who can afford to purchase it.

Waze

Waze

Car manufacturers are also aware of the problem surrounding child hot car deaths. In 2017, General Motors added a rear-seat reminder system to over 20 of their models. It’s only standard on 10 Chevrolet models, but it can be selected as an add on feature to others. It simply works by sending the driver an alert to remind them that they opened the rear door of their vehicle after they turn off the ignition. This is a great option for any parent looking to buy a new car, but is not practical for those who are currently content with the vehicle they own. For these parents, they can download an app called Waze. In 2016, the popular navigation app added a “Child Reminder” feature, which when activated, sends the driver a notification to, “check your car before you leave” once the destination is reached. This solution is completely free and only requires that the parent inputs their destination once they enter the vehicle, which they might already have done to receive navigational directions.

Most people have experienced the feeling of discomfort after getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun. Now imagine being a child and being unable to escape the excruciating heat. This is a situation that should never happen. Taking advantage of technology like the Cybex “SensorSafe” car seat or the Waze App “Child Reminder” feature can help prevent the fatalities that result from leaving kids unintentionally in vehicles. However, technology may not be an option for all families. Something all parents can do that is free and simple is to, “look before you lock,” as recommended by the NHTSA. It’s an easy habit that could potentially be life saving. With daily life increasingly revolving around cellphones, it is even suggested that parents put their phones or something important like a briefcase or groceries in the backseat to help remind them to check for their child. Ultimately, parents need to find a effective solution, whether it involves technology or not, that works for them and ensures their child does not become another statistic.


Unfortunately, stories of children and pets left alone in hot cars every time summer rolls around has become all too common. While it’s easy to get distracted in today’s nonstop world, parents need to make the safety of their children their number one priority. No matter how hectic life gets, it is never okay to leave a child or a pet in a hot car. Parents should always check the back seat when they reach their destination, and lock their car after making sure no one is inside. For a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney regarding any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Detroit Automakers Announce Commitments to Electric Vehicles

Two Detroit-based automakers are strengthening their commitment to producing electric vehicles. On Monday, October 2, 2017, General Motors and Ford both announced their plans to drastically increase their production of electric vehicles in the coming years. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is planning on releasing two new electric vehicles in the next 17 months, and Ford plans on adding 13 electric vehicles to their lineup over the next 5 years.

Mark Reuss, the Chief of Product Development at GM’s Warren Tech Center, GM believes that, “the future is electric.” One such electric GM vehicle will be a mid-sized luxury SUV, and another will be a large, sleek, crossover with three rows of seating and is rumored to be a “futuristic” version of one GMs current electric models, the Chevy Bolt. The two vehicles GM is releasing in the near future are part of a larger plan to have 20 electric vehicles on the road by 2023, and is looking to “begin production of hydrogen fuel cells at its Brownstown battery plant in Michigan by 2020.” The automaker says that some of these vehicles will be battery operated and others will be fuel cell operated (meaning they use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity). The good new for the environment about fuel cell technology is that the only emission of a fuel cell vehicle is water.

GM's announcement for an electric SUV comes at a great time as the market for SUVs is growing quickly (even millennials are interested in larger vehicles), and GM is looking to capitalize on that. 

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Meanwhile Ford has created “Team Edison," a team within the company that is dedicated exclusively to the development of electric vehicles. Ford will be investing $4.5 billion over the next 5 years to develop 13 new battery electric vehicles. These are likely to include hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup truck, Mustang, police responder vehicle, and maybe even an autonomous vehicle. The company is also developing a battery operated small electric SUV. Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification said that, “by 2020, Ford plans to produce an electric car that can go 300 miles before needing to recharge.”

Despite the push from large automakers, and the fact that electric car sales reached a record high in 2016, as previously mentioned by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog, electric vehicles are still fairly uncommon sights on the road. According to Bloomberg, there were 2 million electric vehicles on the road in 2016. While this is a whopping 60% increase from 2015, electric vehicles still only account for just .2% of total lightweight duty vehicles. The New York Times reported that in the first 8 months of 2017, “Americans purchased only about 60,000 battery-powered electric vehicles, and about the same number of plug-in hybrid models...accounting for only 1% of the market.”

If anything, it will be government regulations, not consumer interest, that drive the demand for electric vehicles. China, the United States, and countries in Europe are moving towards tighter emission regulations that could eventually lead to getting rid of gas powered vehicles all together. China, home to strict pollution regulations, is also home to the greatest number of electric vehicles on the road. Bloomberg reported that the US, Germany, China, France, and the UK, among others are part of the Electric Vehicle Initiative, which aims to have “30 percent market share for battery power cars, buses, trucks and vans by 2030.”

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One company that is almost synonymous with electric vehicles is Tesla. While they have shown that there is a demand for electric vehicles, they have also shown how they can be difficult to produce. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan had hundreds of thousands of people paying $1,000 deposits just to be put on a waiting list for the vehicle. But the company recently announced that in the third quarter of this year, they were only able to produce 260 vehicles due to production issues. When it comes to fuel cell vehicles, they are difficult to produce as hydrogen is expensive and not widely available.

Detroit automakers showing such a strong commitment to electric vehicles is encouraging. It’s exciting to know that in a few years there will be many “clean” cars on the road, cutting down on emissions and pollution. Hopefully other automakers will join GM and Ford and make electric vehicles a priority as well, and research and development will make these vehicles easier and cheaper to produce, making them more easily available. Electric vehicles are good for everyone - they will save drivers money on gas, and they help the planet reduce its carbon footprint.


Electric vehicles are good for the environment, but car accidents happen regardless of how fuel efficient a vehicle is. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving an electric car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney today. 

General Motors Settles Faulty Ignition Switch Cases

Three years after the initial recall was announced and over a decade since the defect was initially detected, General Motors (GM), has been ordered to pay a $120 million settlement regarding their massive ignition switch defect scandal. According to the Detroit Free Press, the settlement was announced on October 19, 2017, and is settling claims in multiple states. The ignition switch defect killed 124 people and injured 275 more.

The defect was found in smaller cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, which were made by the old GM. The defective ignition switch caused the cars’ engines to stall and prevented airbags from deploying, all while the car was in motion. GM recalled 2.7 million vehicles in 2014 due to this issue. The state of Michigan will be receiving $4.3 million, which will be put in the state’s general fund. The settlement does not include payments GM has made/is making to families of those killed or injured in accidents caused by the defective ignition switch.

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The recall is one of the largest in the U.S., and has a timeline spanning over a decade. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that "certain employees of GM knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could prevent airbags from deploying. However, despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.”

According to NPR, GM first noticed a problem with the defective ignition switch in 2001 during pre-testing of the Saturn Ion. An inquiry was launched looking into this, and was closed in 2003, saying the problem had been fixed. GM again noticed the same defect in 2004 during production of the Chevrolet Cobalt, but rejected a proposal in March of 2005 to fix the issue due to the time and money it would require. In December of that same year, GM released a statement saying the defect occurs when "the driver is short and has a large and/or heavy key chain...the customer should be advised of this potential and should ... [remove] unessential items from their key chain, ” but did not issue a recall.

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Fast forward to 2007, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into the issue, but closed it saying they found no correlation between the faulty ignition switch and the complaints they received. Another NHTSA probe of the issue was opened and closed in 2010. By the end of 2013, GM had officially linked the faulty ignition switch to 31 car collisions and 13 deaths. Finally in February of 2014, the defect was officially reported to the NHTSA and the initial recall was launched. More recalls were issued in March, April, and May of that year.

On the day the settlement was announced, GM said in a statement that “the resolution includes a financial component, and assures GM will continue ongoing improvements made to ensure the safety of its vehicles. These improvements include continuation of a new organizational structure devoted to global vehicle safety and the company’s Speak Up for Safety program.”

Hopefully, GM is serious about this commitment to safety, and another car safety recall such as this could be avoided. While recalls are often for relatively minor issues, the number of injuries and fatalities due to the GM ignition switch defect shows that recalls need to be taken seriously. Drivers need to pay attention when recalls are announced, and be proactive about checking their car’s VIN number to make sure their vehicles are safe to drive. While some mechanical issues are impossible to predict, knowing if your car is under recall is something all drivers are responsible for, not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.


Regardless of whether or not your vehicle is under recall, car accidents due to mechanical failures happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident due to a recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Driving Road Rage Killing In Ada, Michigan

Road rage is once again to blame for claiming another victim in Ada, Michigan. In October 2016, ex-boxer Christian Hilman, 19, was driving his dirt bike home in front of General Motors retiree William McFarlan, 64, when McFarlan began honking his horn and flashing his lights at Hilman. Finally, Hilman had enough of McFarlan driving behind him and turned into a church parking lot where McFarlan decided to follow him. It is said the two engaged in a heated argument before McFarlan placed his hands on Hilman's neck and the two began to fight. Eyewitnesses say that the fight resulted in “McFarlan collapsing by his pickup truck and Hilman continuing to kick him.” After police were called, Hilman was arrested and McFarlan was rushed to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, including fractured ribs and a fractured skull. Unfortunately, nearly five weeks after the assault, McFarlan passed away due to the severity of his injuries.

Medical malpractice

At first, Hilman would have only faced 10 years in prison with an assault charge, but now in light of McFarlan’s death, Hilman has been charged with murder in the second degree and is facing up to 100 years in prison. “I think just because someone gets angry in a road rage incident, it doesn’t justify assaulting and killing a man,'' said Blair Lachman, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor. However, Michael Bartish, a defense attorney, argues that, “Whatever happened, Mr. McFarlan [followed] Christian into that parking lot...There is no reason for that vehicle to have followed him into that parking lot unless the intent was for a fight.’’ Bartish feels that, Hilman a voluntary manslaughter charge would be more appropriate thatn a second degree murder charge, since the crime occurred in the heat of passion.

Tips To Handle Road Rage

Unfortunately, road rage is starting to become a common behavior on American roadways, due to the increase in the number of motorists on the road, an uptick in aggressive driving maneuvers, and personal factors affecting individual motorists. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC does not condone road rage or aggressive driving behaviors. Neither does DMV.org, who provided the following tips for those drivers who find themselves in driving situations in which they become angry at another driver or another driver engages in aggressive driving behavior towards them.

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  • Maintain your space. This tip does not only refer to keeping enough brake space between cars, but for drivers to do what they need to in order to distance themselves from stressful drivign situations and to remain calm behind the wheel. Playing calming music, a funny podcast, or simply planning ahead for their commute, can prevent drivers from becoming angry.

  • Avoid making eye contact. If the angry driver cannot make eye contact, they will hopefully fume for a moment and continue on their way.

  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Keeping hands busy at 10-and-2 and refraining from making obscene gestures can keep motorists from fanning the flames of anger from other drivers.

  • Show remorse. If a wrong was committed, be the bigger person and correct it by mouthing sorry, waving to the other driver to acknowledge the wrong, or moving out of their way so they can pass.

  • If all else fails - call the police. There may come a time when none of the above tips will help avoid an aggressive driving accident, and the agitated driver may proceed to commit bodily harm to a fellow motorist. In this case, if possible, drivers who find themselves in this situation should pull over and call the police.

Drivers who find themselves engaging in aggressive driving behaviors and have tried bullying someone off the road should remember that acting on violent urges, like what happened between Hilman and McFarlan, can lead to serious consequences. If police catch a driver in the act they could be fined, possibly face prison or jail time, not mention, the aggressive drive will will have to live with a severe assault or a road rage fatality on their conscience.


The altercation between McFarlan and Hilman should serve as a cautionary tale to those who feel they need to teach an aggressive driver a lesson. It is best that the proper authorities handle any road rage incidents, in order to prevent escalating a potential aggressive driving situation. Have you or a loved one been a victim of a road rage car accident? Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. We know going through the legal process can be scary, but our firm is here to help victims of car accidents every step of the way. 

Michigan Leads Development of Smart Roadways

Michigan is looking to lead the nation in developing smart road technology that will allow intersection signals and construction zones to alert next generation vehicles about upcoming red lights, lane closures, and traffic areas ahead. According to The Detroit News, General Motors and Macomb County, Michigan have partnered up to begin testing smart road safety features that can tell future cars to begin braking when traffic lights are about to turn red. Michigan has also begun testing 'connected construction zones' on Interstate 75 in Oakland County that can alert cars with 'vehicle-infrastructure-capability' about upcoming lane closures. Vehicle-infrastructure-capability allows vehicles to communicate with roadways, construction zones and traffic signals through smart technology.

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These 'connected construction zones' operate by advanced-tech roadside bar codes that are able to communicate information from construction zones to oncoming vehicles. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. Reportedly, these roadside bar codes are intended to be the system that will navigate autonomous vehicles in the future. Michigan has already established 100 miles of connected roadways and plans to expand to 350 miles in the future. Automakers and auto suppliers alike in Southeast Michigan have already begun planning for this transition by testing autonomous vehicle technology on Michigan roadways.

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Citizens of Michigan who are interested in knowing what these road signals look like, should look out for bar codes signs with black and white 2D codes that have been implemented on I-75 in Oakland County. These signs appear to be QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones, however, they can only be read by test cars with vehicle-infrastructure intuition. 3M Company provided these signs for Michigan, and Tammy Meehan, global portfolio manager for 3M Connected Roads, explains that these signs contain pinpoint GPS navigation, can alert vehicles of upcoming construction zones, and can estimate the time it takes to drive through work zones. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. 

Outside the GM Tech Center in Warren, advanced technology has been implemented into traffic lights by Macomb County on Mound Road between 12 Mile Road and 13 Mile Road. These lights are able communicate with Cadillac CTS test sedans that possess vehicle-infrastructure capability. The Detroit News reports that the smart traffic signals and sensors calculate the driver’s speed and the time in which the traffic signal will turn red, to determine if the driver needs to begin braking. In such a case, a yellow light glows on the driver’s infotainment screen and their seat begins vibrating. This is intended to prevent the driver from running the red light or crashing into another vehicle.  The smart traffic signals work within a 1,000-foot radius.

Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive, stated that for the past five years Macomb's infrastructure department has been installing advanced sensors and cameras to develop smart highways. Hackel explains that the partnership with GM, in addition to the $13.5 million-dollar creation of the Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC) that opened in Mount Clemens in 2013, have been a part of the County’s ongoing infrastructure investments. COMTEC has allowed for the development of Michigan traffic-monitoring, weather-mapping, road-department cameras, and a video wall with 40 monitors.

Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, stated that Michigan continues to partner with automakers and suppliers for the research and development of autonomous vehicles and smart technology. Kirk claims that advanced vehicle-infrastructure communication could reduce 80% of car accident fatalities.

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While Michigan making great headway, it is not alone in its efforts to develop smart roadways. Other states, including Ohio, have begun testing and implementing connected roadways as well. Ohio has decided to invest $15 million into developing the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor using advanced fiber-optic cables and wireless sensors for connected roadway and autonomous vehicle testing. Ohio plans to expand connected roadways to I-270 and I-90 as well.

The smart technology innovation that Michiganders are experiencing before them will transform the way we mobilize, by making transportation far more efficient and safer. The ability for autonomous vehicles and connected highways to communicate may greatly reduce car accident fatalities in the future. Yet, it will still be some time before Michigan citizens are able to experience this transformation. In the meanwhile, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC will continue to update blog readers on the development of smart roadway technology and its effects on drivers in Michigan and across the country.


Whether you've been involved in an auto accident with with a driverless car or were struck by a negligent driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation. Our firm assists victims of car accidents in recouping any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Automakers Break Into Ride-Sharing Car Market

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Ride-sharing first became a tech-phenomenon in 2011 when tech-giants, Uber and Lyft, introduced the ability to hail cabs and share rides with friends instantly, through an app available on smart phones. Since then, according to Business Insider, 30% of the U.S. population has reported using some form of a ride-sharing app. Ride-sharing has made transportation fast and convenient, and the industry is only growing as new companies look to break into the market.

However, as Popular Mechanics explains, the sharing trend, as opposed to individuals purchasing and operating their own vehicles, started with car-sharing. Car-sharing became a trend in the automotive industry in 2000 and was popularized by a company called ZipCar, but has just recently taken off since the development of smart phones. Car-sharing allows customers to purchase a membership with a car-sharing service such as ZipCar, which customers can then use along with the company’s website or app, to locate the nearest vehicle, flash their membership card to unlock the vehicle, and then drive the car their reserved time period. While car sharing is very convenient for those who don't own a motor vehicle, it's most common complaint is that most car-sharing companies' customers are given the option to be charged by the day, hour, minute, or mile they drive. Being charged by the minute or mile can get very expensive. However, the positive aspect to car-sharing is that gas and insurance are already included in the fee.

While it was the first to gain popularity, ZipCar is now one of many similar services. Last year, The Michigan Law Firm Blog wrote an article about GM launching its own car-sharing service, Maven. In an effort to become the leading forerunner in personal mobility services, GM acquired assets from Sidecar, a ride-sharing start-up company, in January of 2016 and has also teamed up with the premier ride-sharing brand, Lyft. GM has also broken into the ride-sharing market by introducing Maven Gig, a service that allows drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to rent Chevy Volts, if they do not have a car of their own, to drive their ride-share costumers in. 

More recently, Daimler and BMW have become the next large automakers attempting to challenge Silicon Valley by designing their own car-sharing and ride-sharing programs. According the The New York Times, Daimler, the makers of the luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, first introduced its car-sharing brand, Car2Go, in 2008 in Germany, and has since grown to serve about 2.4 million members across 9 countries. 33% of Car2Go members are even located in North America. The Car2Go program has yielded positive results after a 3-year study of 10,000 members done by U.C. Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, which reported that Car2Go service has reduced vehicle ownership and miles traveled in privately owned cars. As a result, greenhouse emissions have been reduced, 2% to 5% of Car2Go members have sold their privately owned vehicles, and 7% to 10% of members have stopped seeking to purchase a vehicle because of the service.

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BMW first launched its own car-sharing service, DriveNow, in Europe in 2011. In December of 2016, it went on to launch its North American car-sharing service, ReachNow. BMW has also been testing its own ride-sharing service in Seattle as well. Steve Banfield, the CEO of ReachNow, explained the company’s reasoning to enter into both car-sharing and ride-sharing markets by stating that “sometimes they (customers) want to be driven, sometimes they want to drive. Sometimes they want the car for several days, sometimes they want the car for 10 minutes.” Banfield further explained that offering customers different ways to move about cities allows the company to study and research the method of transportation individuals prefer to use, allowing the company to become closer to the consumer. Both services also allow BMW to promote their luxury brand by offering temporary rides and mobility to individuals. 

A future with autonomous vehicles is inevitable, so it is important for companies to mold a business strategy that will allow themselves to adapt to a new automotive industry that will no longer require individuals to purchase and operate their own vehicles. BMW has reportedly partnered with Intel to begin production of autonomous cars by 2021, while Daimler and Uber have partnered to start their own creation of self-operating vehicles. These large automakers hope by creating their own personal mobility brands and creating early plans to start autonomous vehicle production, they will be able dominate the market in the future.

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With these car-sharing and ride-sharing programs, it is important to remember that human drivers are still operating these vehicles (that is, until vehicles become autonomous). Therefore the risk of a car accident due to human error is always present. Thus, passengers should always stay alert while riding in a vehicle and follow car safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Metro Detroit law firm that handles all types of accident cases. If you or someone you know has been involved in car, bus, motorcycle, or truck accident, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.