Teen drivers who don't buckle their seat belts in select new Chevy cars won't get very far in a hurry.
Chevrolet announced Tuesday it is rolling out a new Buckle to Drive feature this summer in the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, Malibu and Colorado "designed to not allow the driver to shift out of park for up to 20 seconds" if the driver's seat belt isn't buckled.
The feature works when the automaker’s Teen Driver mode – first released in 2015 and available in other Chevy models – is active.
"Buckle to Drive is embedded in Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system and is aimed at helping remind teens to buckle up every time they get behind the wheel," said Tricia Morrow, Chevrolet safety engineer, in a statement.
Teen Drive mode already automatically mutes the radio until driver and front passenger seat belts are fastened and also allows parents to set maximum speed and audio volume limits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, and teens have the lowest rates of seat belt use compared with other age groups.
Chevrolet said in the statement that the company conducted extensive research about the risks of not buckling up and said the Buckle to Drive feature in its Teen Driver system was based on a recent internal pilot study of a similar feature offered to select fleet customers.
Buckle to Drive and Teen Driver mode
According to Chevrolet, here is how to use the Teen Driver system and Buckle to Drive:
- Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system with the Buckle to Drive feature will be standard with the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, Malibu and Colorado, which will be released this summer.
- The Buckle to Drive feature is available only when the vehicle is in Teen Driver mode.
- To use Teen Driver mode, a parent can enable the feature by creating a PIN in the settings menu that allows them to register their teen’s key fob. The Teen Driver settings are turned on only when a registered key fob is used to start the vehicle.
- When active, Teen Driver automatically mutes the radio until driver and front passenger seat belts are fastened. The radio system’s maximum volume can also be set to a lower level.
- Parents can set a maximum speed limit of the car up to 85 mph and can select a speed warning between 40 to 75 mph that if “exceeded activates a visual warning and audible chime.”
- Teen Driver offers an in-vehicle report card where parents can view how their teen drove the vehicle.
- The report card tracks distance driven, maximum speed traveled, over-speed warnings issued, wide-open throttle events and the number of times other safety systems were activated, including stability control, traction control and antilock braking.