Safety Group Slams GM’s In-Car Shopping App

December 06, 2017 at 1:52 PM

General Motors Co.’s new Marketplace feature that allows users to make reservations and purchases while they’re driving likely will increase distraction-related accidents and fatalities, warns the National Safety Council public advocacy group.

"There’s nothing about this that’s safe," asserts Deborah Hersman, who heads the Itasca, Ill.-based non-profit organization. She tells Bloomberg News, “We’re going to see fatality numbers go up even higher than they are now.”

Distracted driving contributed to about one-fourth of all vehicle crashes in the U.S. last year, Hersman notes. Traffic deaths increased nearly 6% last year.

Introduced this week, Marketplace is available in nearly 2 million 2017-2018 GM vehicles. The system allows motorists to use their infotainment touchscreen and voice-activation system to pre-order coffee and food, make restaurant reservations, locate and pay for fuel, reserve and pay for parking, search for nearby hotels and shop online.

GM says the system, which complies with voluntary driver-distraction guidelines set by car companies, is safer than using a smartphone. A company spokesperson says the app Marketplace limits the number of steps required to place an order to three or four.