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GM FastLane:OnStar and TTY

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By Mark Loehr

Engineer, GM Powertrain

My job at GM is as an engineer with GM Powertrain, but as a person who is deaf, I had an interest in bringing the capabilities of OnStar to my community.

OnStar unveiled an in-vehicle device that will improve the ability of deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired subscribers to use most of OnStar’s safety, security and convenience services. The TTY compatible equipment will provide 24/7 access to TTY Advisors through the blue OnStar button and the red Emergency button, as well as access to OnStar’s Hands-Free Calling capability through the dial pad.

I got involved when I realized that OnStar was not fully accessible for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. We formed a sub-committee team within the GM Mobility committee, with members who are also deaf or hard of hearing.

Here’s how it works. Once TTY equipment is installed in a vehicle, OnStar services will be available based on the user’s subscription plan (excluding OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation and Virtual Advisor). Under the Directions & Connections subscription plan, driving directions and point-of-interest locations can be delivered via the TTY device.

This system leverages the combined capabilities of GM and OnStar to bring the benefits of OnStar to a larger segment of society.

I am proud to be a member of this team. We worked with a dedicated OnStar team on decisions regarding the product’s appearance, and marketing, as well as development of communication materials that would be effective with deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired drivers.

This dealer-installed option is available now on a wide range of 2007 GM models, including the Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Chevrolet Uplander. The option is available at little or no additional cost through the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program. To learn more about the program, take a look at some of these questions.



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