GM has just announced a new feature designed to make it even harder for you to set off unbuckled. Forget dings, buzzers, and flashing lights, this new addition to Chevy's Teen Driver mode keeps the vehicle in park until occupants buckle up. Or at least until they wait for what will feel like a very long time.
While the feature is of benefit to all drivers, it's aimed specifically at teenagers because, as Chevrolet relays, teens have among the lowest rates of seat belt use. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) says that the majority of teens involved in fatal crashes aren't wearing their seat belt, which would help protect them in a crash.
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So the Buckle to Drive feature takes advantage of modern electronic gearshifts. It works only when Teen Driver mode is enabled, which can be password locked by the vehicle owner. If the car is on and the driver is unbuckled, the vehicle won't come out of park. Press the brake pedal and there is an audio alert and a message to the driver reading "Buckle belt to shift." The feature will let you drive off unbuckled if you're willing to wait the 20 seconds, so the vehicle won't be immobilized completely. The idea is that drivers will buckle up instead of waiting.
The feature will be available on the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, Malibu, and Colorado, all arriving this summer in the US. We reached out to Chevrolet Canada who told us that the feature will eventually come to Canada, with more details to follow.
Teen Driver mode, available on certain GM vehicles, also includes features like radio muting until both front belts are fastened, speed warning chimes, and a maximum speed limiter. All designed to help young drivers develop good habits and stay safe.