Skip to main content

Learning to drive is one of the most exciting things ever in many young people’s lives. However, the stress that comes with it for parents is a different story. The checklist of things to consider is quite long and easy to forget as an excited young driver. GM now offers a new system that will help teen drivers remember to buckle up every time they take off down to the local Walmart parking lot to hang with their friends (assuming High schoolers still do that). 

You driver putting on his seat belt in a GM Chevy
Teen putting on seat belt | Chevrolet

GM Is taking young driver safety seriously

In 2019, Chevrolet began expanding its Teen Driver mode. This gave young drivers a separate setting that limited ascertain things and gave regular reminders for the teen to remember safety procedures like buckling up.

“Buckle to Drive” ensures that young drivers wear seat belts by not allowing the car to shift into gear unless the seat belt is fastened. Over the past two years, the program has expanded to include a wide swath of GM models; 2020 Colorado, Traverse, Malibu, and Canyon; the 2021 Equinox; and the 2022 Blazer.

According to The Drive, Buckle to Drive will now be standard on even more GM SUVs and pickup trucks for 2022. The 2022 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra will be among the new adoptees of this new safety feature. 

GM has also said that for 2023, the system will be expanded to include the front passenger seat. The data on seat belts is undeniable, and it makes plenty of sense that GM would like to see its customers die less from something as avoidable as non-belted driving deaths. 

Do seat belts really keep you safer? 

That would be a big and resounding “yes.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the national use rate of seat belts was at 90.3% in 2020. In the late 40s and early 50s, buyers started seeing cars with seat belts as options, and by the early 1970s, American car manufacturers were required to include seat belts in new vehicles. 

As the NHTSA said, “Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.” The safety group goes on to say that “Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts.”

Do people care about GM forcing seat belts on young drivers? 

White 2024 GMC Acadia SUV on the sand by water
2024 GMC Acadia SUV | GM

How Effective Are Seat Belts?

As unfathomable as it may seem, when the federal government began requiring automakers to put seatbelts in every car, some people were so enraged that they defaced their own cars to prove their dedication to being unsafe. If only there were a reference point for that in these modern times….

In fact, GM is fully aware that the idea of forced buckling will likely spark some people to wave guns on federal property or might even lead to more violent displays of refusal. Still, GM has made ways to get around the safety setting. This information isn’t meant to support foolish behavior but only to share all pertinent information on the subject. 

GM says, “Buckle to Drive can be turned off through the Settings menu on the infotainment screen; go to Settings > Vehicle > Buckle to Drive. On vehicles that include the feature as part of Teen Driver Mode, go to Settings > Vehicle > Teen Driver. The vehicle may need to be restarted to register the setting change.” 

Allowing for the disabling of this feature will support those who like the added safety reminder and keep those upset by GM trying to keep kids safe. According to The Drive, when asked, a GM Spokesperson said, “he could not confirm the information in the report released on Buckle to Drive’s integration into the 2022 Silverado and Sierra, nor could they comment further on speculations as to whether the feature would be standard or integrated as part of Teen Driver mode.”