Chevrolet introduced its Teen Driver System with the current Chevrolet Malibu a few years ago, but the technology has quickly spread to eight additional vehicles—Bolt EV, Camaro, Colorado, Cruze, Silverado, Equinox, Suburban and Tahoe.
Its intent is to keep teen drivers safer behind the wheel and encourage proper driving habits to curb aggressive driving and other potentially harmful behaviors behind the wheel. Forbes recently put the system to the test with an 18-year-old driver to see if the system truly did institute positive change.
The young driver was handed the keys to a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback with the Teen Driver System and drove the car daily for one week. Instantly, the young driver said the effects were noticeable.
“I found myself driving a little bit more cautiously than normal because I knew I was being monitored and I knew there was a report card being logged,” he said.
Teen Driver monitors a multitude of areas when a designated key is used to operate the vehicle. Parents can then produce a “report card” following a teen’s driving excursion. The report card will highlight things such as over speed warnings, distance traveled, wide open throttle instances, forward collision alerts, traction and stability control and ABS utilization and tailgating alerts.
The system encourages proper driving habits by locking out radio controls until all seatbelts are fastened, it locks out the ability to disable various active safety features, radio volume can be preset and audible speed warning may be implemented.
In this test, the teen driver logged 21 tailgate alerts during a 44-mile drive. When the system detects the car is following too closely, it sounds an audible beeping tone.
“There was a warning would come up each time I was tailgating, and it would flash, beep and get angry at me… this actually encouraged me to increase my distance from the car in front from that point forward,” he explained. “After seven or eight of them happened in the first two or three days, you start to become more aware… you obviously don’t want the beep to continue. I became aware of the distance, and I would then increase the gap between cars and myself.”
Like Pavlov’s experiment, the tailgate alerts dropped to zero shortly after the experience.
It can be concluded the system certainly does encourage good behavior, but the Teen Driver System should also be used in conjunction with proper learning experience behind the wheel and a dose of good judgment.