- New standard feature on several 2020 Chevrolet and GMC models locks the transmission in park until the driver buckles his or her seatbelt.
- The vehicle owner activates the feature as part of the car's Teen Driver system.
- Teenage drivers have been shown to have the lowest rate of seatbelt use, leading to relatively higher numbers of injuries and deaths.
To help remind new drivers to buckle up for safety, General Motors' safety engineers have developed a new feature that, when activated, locks the transmission in park until the driver has his or her seatbelt fastened. The feature will launch as standard equipment on 2020 models of the Chevrolet Traverse, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Chevrolet Colorado, and the GMC Canyon; other Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, as well as vehicles from GM's Buick and Cadillac luxury brands, can be expected to receive the feature in the near future.
The feature, which GM calls Buckle to Drive, is the latest addition to GM's Teen Driver system that was introduced in 2015; the system also tracks vehicle speed, location, and driving style and provides a report to the driver's parent or guardian. Once set up, it also automatically activates the car's applicable driver-assistance features and mutes the stereo until occupants are buckled up.
"Safety is our number-one priority," said Tricia Morrow, GM safety engineer. "I come to work every day with my children in mind [Morrow has a teen driver in her family] because there is nothing more important than their safety. My hope is that Buckle to Drive will help guide more young drivers to wear their seatbelts and encourage positive conversations among teens, their peers, and parents."
The injury rate for young drivers not wearing their seatbelts is shockingly high; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers have one of the lowest rates of seatbelt use. In 2016, 292,742 of them were hospitalized for injuries sustained during car accidents, and 2433 died as a result of those injuries. Other automakers have been thinking hard about ways to encourage seatbelt usage, including this novel heated seatbelt from Mercedes-Benz.
('You Might Also Like',)