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Hundreds of Lives Saved by Daytime Running Lamps

Return to Standard Time This Weekend Makes Increased Visibility More Valuable

An estimated 423 U.S. traffic deaths have been avoided in the last decade because daytime running lamps are standard on virtually all General Motors’ vehicles.

If all new vehicles from model year 1996 on had been equipped with this technology, some 1,236 lives could have been saved, according to a GM statistical analysis.

“In the 10 years since we made daytime running lamps standard, we can point to more than 85,000 crashes of all types that never happened,” said Bob Lange, GM executive director of Vehicle Structure and Safety Integration. The analysis showed an estimated 263 vehicle occupants and 170 pedestrians and cyclists were spared.

Daytime running lamps increase a vehicle's visibility by illuminating lamps on the front of the vehicle whenever the headlamps are not turned on. They are based on scientific studies that show the human eye is better able to recognize an object against its background when lit.

The increased visibility is especially important as most of the nation returns to Standard Time this weekend and an hour of afternoon daylight “disappears” with the resetting of clocks. For children whose school day ends in late afternoon, that could mean walking home from bus stops in near-dusk conditions.

“The ability to see oncoming vehicles in the waning hours of daylight could prevent children from being injured or killed,” Lange said. “Daytime running lamps are a very successful and proven method of keeping pedestrians from being hurt.”

Of the nation’s 42,636 roadway deaths in 2004, about 11 percent were pedestrians. The number of pedestrians injured and killed in traffic crashes has steadily declined for several years – and data suggests daytime running lamps are a factor.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using federal crash data showed that daytime running lamps reduced pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in single-vehicle crashes by about 12 percent.

GM was the first automaker to make daytime running lamps standard across most of its U.S. passenger vehicle lineup. GM petitioned NHTSA in 2001 to require all automakers to install daytime running lamps on new passenger cars, trucks and buses.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 325,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries . More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com .