Teenage drivers are the worst at wearing their seat belt according to official data. However, Chevrolet wants to change that with a new industry-first safety system.
Set to be standard on 2020 Traverse, Malibu and Colorado models, the ‘Buckle to Drive’ system builds on the ‘Teen Driver’ mode already included with most Chevrolets.
The launch of the system follows research by the company, which discovered that 48 percent of the 2,433 teens killed in vehicles crashes in 2016 were not wearing their seat belt at the time.
The Kids Aren’t Alright
In addition, Chevrolet’s research also found data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which showed car accidents were the leading cause of fatalities for teenagers.
To help reduce this risk, the Buckle to Drive system physically prevents drivers from shifting the transmission out of park for up to 20 seconds, unless their seat belt is buckled correctly.
Drivers are also reminded when pressing the brake pedal to shift with an audible alert, and are shown a message in the driver information display that reads “Buckle seat belt to shift.”
In launching the feature, Chevrolet safety engineer Tricia Morrow noted that she hopes “that Buckle to Drive will help guide more young drivers to wear their seat belts and encourage positive conversations among teens, their peers and parents.”
The Buckle to Drive feature builds on the existing Chevrolet Teen Drive mode, which enables concerned parents and guardians the option to adjust a range of options aimed at safer driving.
Using a specific key fob means teen drivers can be prevented from turning off safety technology such as Forward Collision Alert. Parents can also set visual and audible alerts if a driver exceeds a certain speed, and also limit the car to a maximum of 85mph.
Parents can also receive a ‘report card’ on journeys made, displaying the maximum speed reached, times the traction control was activated, and even when wide-open throttle was used.