Chevrolet’s Efforts To Stop Number One Cause Of Teen Deaths

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Chevrolet has been tackling the problem of teen safety since its introduction of its Teen Driver system in 2015. Developing the safety features further, the company has introduced an industry-first Buckle to Drive feature to remind teens to buckle up.

  • Chevrolet is a leader in implementing teen safety features

  • Accidents are number one cause of teen deaths

  • In a study done by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, Buckle to Drive increases the percentage of people who put on their seatbelt

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), teens are seat belt averse, with the lowest rate of use. Not great news when crashes are the number one cause of teenager deaths in the United States. Particularly because the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) determined the number one thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash is buckling up.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse “Buckle 2 Drive” Teen Driver Technology. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

Safety is priority one

Tricia Morrow, a Chevrolet Safety Engineer, is particularly vested in the problem because she’s the mother of a teen.

“Safety is our number one priority at Chevrolet,” she explains. “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 between teens, their peers and parents.”

Buckle to Drive works when the car is in Teen Driver mode by preventing the driver from shifting out of park for up to 20 seconds if the seat belt isn’t buckled. As a reminder, an audible alert and message on the dash says “Buckle seat belt to shift” when the brake pedal is pressed.

Research supported results

Chevrolet puts a lot of research into improving safety. Buckle to Drive evolved from an internal pilot study of a similar feature offered to select fleet customers. The system is proving impactful. In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety the feature increased the seat belt use of adults who occasionally use a seat belt by 16 percent compared to the standard audible chime seat belt reminder in a similar Chevrolet vehicle.


In addition to the reminder to secure the seat belt, Buckle to Drive offers parents valuable stats to monitor their children’s driving. A report card tracks stats such as 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.

Parents can control other aspects of the car

As part of the Teen Driver system, Buckle to Drive adds yet another element in increasing teen safety. Teen Driver already mutes the radio until driver and front passenger seat belts are fastened. Since teens love to blast the radio and potentially hurt their hearing, parents can set a maximum volume. Parents can also set a speed warning between 40-75 mph and limit top speed to 85mph. If the vehicle is equipped with certain active safety features like Forward Collision Alert, they are automatically engaged when the car is turned on.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse “Buckle 2 Drive” Teen Driver Technology. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

Setting up Teen Driver mode is quite simple; parents create a PIN in the Settings menu and register the teen’s key fob. That way the car recognizes when your teen gets behind the wheel. When you’re driving with your own key, those settings won’t engage.

Arriving this summer, the Teen Driver system with Buckle to Drive feature will come standard on 2020 models of the Chevrolet Traverse, Malibu and Colorado.

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