New technology from Chevrolet will prevent their cars from shifting out of park if the driver’s seat belt isn’t buckled.
According to the NHTSA, the number one thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash is to buckle up. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47 percent weren’t wearing their seatbelts. And according to the CDC, the majority of those fatal crashes happened to teens.
Taking these figures into account, Chevrolet has developed a new feature that will prevent teens from driving unless they buckle up. It’s called the "Buckle to Drive" feature, and it comes standard on the new 2020 Chevy Traverse.
The system is simple: with the Traverse operating in Teen Driver mode, the vehicle will not allow itself to be shifted out from “park” unless the driver’s seat belt is buckled. An alert will also be displayed on the instrument cluster that says “buckle seat belt to shift” for up to 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, the system disengages the lockout and the teen can drive away normally.
Teens can still drive away faster if they buckle up before the 20 seconds have elapsed. This is really more to encourage seat belt use than it is to prevent cars from being driven without a seat belt-encased driver.
However, Chevrolet found in a pilot study that even adults benefit from the system. “[Buckle To Drive] increased the seat belt use of adults who occasionally use a seat belt by 16 percent compared to the standard audible chime seat belt reminder in a similar Chevrolet vehicle.”
Teen Driver mode is becoming a standard feature for most new Chevrolet vehicles. It includes a PIN-style lockout mechanism that will allow teen drivers to start the car but will tell their parents certain vehicle statistics such distance traveled, over-speed warnings, and the number of times safety systems like anti-lock brakes and stability control were activated.
It can also be used to artificially limit the top speed of Chevy vehicles to 80 mph.
Teen Driver mode will be standard on the new 2020 Malibu and Colorado when they arrive later this summer.