A handful of new Chevrolet models won’t only produce a chime to remind drivers to buckle up, but they also won’t let a driver shift out of park.
The brand announced Tuesday its new Buckle to Drive feature, which will be part of the Teen Driver system announced in 2015. The way it works is fairly simple. When a driver starts the car and does not buckle his or her seatbelt, the car will lock itself in park when the driver pushes their foot on the brake pedal. A message reading “Buckle seat belt to shift” will appear in the gauge cluster.
The function will only work if the car’s Teen Driver mode is active, which also provides parents a safety net for new and inexperienced drivers. The system can set speed limits, geofencing to know if a teen has left a certain area, and set maximum audio volumes for fewer distractions behind the wheel.
Teenagers have some of the lowest rates of seat belt usage in the United States. The Center for Disease and Protection’s data also shows the majority of fatal crashes involving teen drivers include teenagers who were not using their seat belt. Nearly 2,500 teenagers were killed behind the wheel in 2016. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47 percent were not wearing seat belts. Even with mountains of active safety features available today, buckling up remains the top way to stay safe behind the wheel.
Chevrolet piloted the new feature on a select number of fleet vehicles and found seat belt usage among adults increased 16 percent over the regular audible chime.