Chevrolet has introduced an industry-first Buckle to Drive feature that can help remind young drivers to buckle up before driving. Buckle to Drive is standard in the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, and when active can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of park if the driver’s seatbelt is not buckled.
Buckle to Drive is only available through the vehicle’s Teen Driver mode and builds upon Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system, introduced in 2015, as another step to help teen drivers stay safe on the road.
Buckle to Drive feature works when vehicle is in Teen Driver mode. If the vehicle is on and the driver’s seatbelt is not buckled, the feature is designed to not allow the driver to shift out of park for up to 20 seconds. When the brake pedal is pressed, the driver will hear an audible alert and see a message in the driver information centre that reads ‘Buckle seatbelt to shift’.
Buckling the seatbelt is the number one action drivers can take to protect themselves in a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tragically, teens have among the lowest rates of seatbelt use in the USA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of teenagers involved in fatal crashes are unbuckled (CDC).
“Buckle to Drive is Chevrolet’s latest feature designed to encourage young drivers to develop safe driving habits right from the start,” said Tricia Morrow, Chevrolet safety engineer. “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.”
Chevrolet says it has conducted extensive research on the dangers of not buckling up. The Buckle to Drive feature in Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system was based on a recent internal pilot study of a similar feature that Chevrolet offered to select fleet customers. In fact, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that the feature increased the seatbelt use of adults who occasionally use a seatbelt by 16 percent compared to the standard audible chime seatbelt reminder in a similar Chevrolet vehicle.
“Safety is our number one priority at Chevrolet,” said Morrow, the mother of a teen driver. “I come to work every day with my children in mind 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 seat belts and encourage positive conversations among teens, their peers and parents.”
How Buckle to Drive works
- The Buckle to Drive feature is available only when the vehicle is in Teen Driver mode.
- If the vehicle is on and the driver’s seatbelt is not buckled, the feature is designed to not allow the driver to shift out of park for up to 20 seconds.
- When the brake pedal is pressed, the driver will hear an audible alert and see a message in the driver information center that reads ‘Buckle seatbelt to shift.’
Chevrolet's Teen Driver
- Teen Driver offers an industry-first in-vehicle report card that that helps encourage safe driving habits and provides a way for parents and teens to discuss safe driving practices.
- 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.
- 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.
- If the vehicle is equipped with certain active safety features like Forward Collision Alert, they are automatically turned on.
- Parents can select a speed warning (between 40-75 mph) that if exceeded activates a visual warning and audible chime.
- Parents can choose to limit the maximum speed of the vehicle to 85 mph.
Photos: John F Martin