New feature tells young drivers: buckle up if you want to drive

A new feature from US car maker Chevrolet temporarily stops the driver from shifting the car into gear if their seatbelt isn't done up.

Designed to improve safety for young drivers, the 'Buckle to Drive' system works when the vehicle is in Teen Driver mode. If the vehicle is started up and the driver's seatbelt is not buckled, it prevents the driver from shifting out of park for up to 20 seconds. When the brake pedal is pressed, the driver will hear an alert and see a message that reads: 'Buckle seatbelt to shift'.

The system will come as standard on the new models of the Chevrolet Traverse, Malibu and Colorado.

"Buckle to Drive is Chevrolet's latest feature designed to encourage young drivers to develop safe driving habits right from the start," explained 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."

Parents can enable Teen Driver mode by creating a PIN in the Settings menu that allows them to register their teen's key fob. The settings are then turned on when that key fob is used to start the vehicle.

When active, Teen Driver also automatically mutes the radio until the driver and front passenger seatbelts are fastened, and 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 in Teen Driver mode.

In addition, parents can choose to set a visual warning and audible chime that come on if the vehicle exceeds a certain speed (between 40 and 75 mph), and they can also limit the maximum speed of the vehicle to 85 mph.

"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," Morrow said.

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