Chevrolet's Teen Driver feature is an excellent way to ensure new drivers aren't doing wildly dangerous things behind the wheel, and soon, a smattering of vehicles will be even better at ensuring those seatbelts are buckled before the journey begins.
Chevrolet on Tuesday unveiled Buckle to Drive, the newest addition to the Teen Driver suite of safety features. It's pretty straightforward: When Teen Driver is activated and a young'un slides behind the driver's seat, the car will not shift out of Park for "up to 20 seconds," the press release says. Upon pressing the brake pedal, the first step in shifting out of Park, the car will chime and show an alert that reads, "Buckle seat belt to shift."
It's unclear if the vehicle can be shifted out of Park after those 20 seconds have passed. If so, that seems like a pretty easy feature to defeat. Then again, how many teenagers are able to commit to something for 20 seconds straight?
This builds on an already impressive collection of features that Teen Driver offers. The system can mute the radio until the front belts are buckled, automatically engage safety features, set a speed warning or cap that top speed altogether. Parents can receive a "report card" that lays out how far the teen drove, how many times they exceeded the speed limit, how many times they put the throttle to the firewall and more.
Not every vehicle will get Buckle to Drive right away. Chevrolet says it will first be available on 2020 versions of the Chevrolet Colorado, Malibu and Traverse, all of which land at dealerships this summer.