GM's 'Teen Driver Mode’ Will Force You to Buckle Up
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Statistics show that many young adults are delaying getting their license, or have no interest in driving at all. But this isn’t the case for everyone.
If your teenage driver is itching to get behind the wheel you should encourage it, because once your kids are old enough to drive themselves, you can hang up your chauffeur gloves and get your weekends back!
For many parents however, letting a teenage driver head out alone causes a lot of anxiety. After all, the fatal crash rate for 16 to 19-year-olds is almost three times higher than the rate for drivers 20 and older.
On top of this, teenagers are notoriously unreliable. What if they forget to buckle up before starting the car, or drive too fast through your residential neighborhood?
Well, this is where GM’s “Teen Driver Mode” kicks in. It is a suite of features designed to keep teenage drivers as safe as possible. And starting with 2022 models, it will include a “Buckle to Drive” option, which prevents the driver from shifting out of park until the seat belt is correctly fastened.
GM is trying to make driving safer for teens.
‘Teen Driver Mode’ explained
Teen Driver Mode is an active safety technology from GM, which encourages safe and defensive driving habits. Parents can activate Teen Driver Mode through the settings menu on their vehicle’s infotainment system, and it can only be deactivated using a secure pin number.
Once active, parents have access to a driving report card that shows distance traveled,
maximum speed achieved on the journey, and any events that led to the antilock brake or stability control functions kicking in (like braking too hard or accelerating too quickly).
If the vehicle is equipped with forward collision alerts and collision avoidance braking events, it will show them too.
Teen driving mode can also be programmed to keep the stereo volume at a reasonable level, and provide an audio visual warning if the car goes faster than 75 mph.
What changes are being made?
Since 2019, several Chevrolet models including the 2020 Colorado, Traverse, Malibu, and Canyon have had a feature called “Buckle to Drive.”
It’s a pretty simple feature, which requires the seat belt to be correctly fastened in order for the car to start.
The Drive reports that starting next year, this seat belt safety feature will be included with all SUVs and full-size trucks under the General Motors portfolio, as part of an updated Teen Driver Mode.
This means that the much anticipated 2022 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra will have the feature included as standard. And for 2023 models, the front passenger will be required to buckle up as well.
Will it make a difference to teen driver safety?
Nervous parents will hope this is more than just a sales gimmick, and the changes do appear to address some very real concerns.
For example, according to the CDC, teens and young adults have the lowest seat belt use rates compared with other age groups, and almost half of teen drivers and passengers aged 16–19 who died in car crashes in 2019, were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Despite this, some drivers will no doubt complain to GM about overreach, but there are ways to disable Buckle to Drive, and Teen Driver Mode in its entirety.
However, in order to disable it, you need to know the pin number, so parents hold all the aces when it comes to ensuring their teenage driver’s compliance.
Cheap car insurance for teen drivers
If your teen driver is using a family vehicle, they can be added as a driver to the family car insurance policy. This is usually the most cost effective way of insuring a young and inexperienced driver.
However, if your teen has their own car and the title is solely in their name, they will need their own insurance policy. And as you are probably aware, teen drivers are the most high risk demographic when it comes to insurance, and as such, they face the highest premiums.
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