For 2017, Chevrolet brings Teen Driver Technology to 10 models.
Tracking teen driving behavior is fair game, and Chevrolet has upped the ante by helping parents monitor what goes on behind the wheel when they’re not there. We all know that teens don’t always make the wisest decisions and that’s why Chevrolet is expanding its Teen Driver Technology to 10 vehicles in 2017.
Coinciding with the release of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Teen Driver Technology is a collection of available passive and active safety features that allows parents to reinforce safe driving habits. For example, the system can mute the audio system until the driver fastens his seat belt. It’s a non-subscription-based service that supplies an in-vehicle report card for parents to review with their teen drivers. “Chevrolet developed this system as a tool that can give teens some additional coaching as they’re gaining experience,” says Chevrolet safety engineer MaryAnn Beebe in a press release.
Teen Driver is available on the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, Camaro, Colorado, Cruze, Malibu, Silverado, Silverado HD, Suburban, Tahoe and Volt. Parents must register their teen’s key fob in the vehicle’s system settings to activate the technology.
Encouraging Wise Behind-the-Wheel Behavior
Once in place, young drivers will discover Teen Driver supplies audible and visual warnings when the vehicle travels faster than speeds preset by parents. In addition, it allows parents to restrict the audio volume as music piped in at a high volume may adversely affect driving behavior.
But the technology doesn’t stop there. Teen Driver automatically turns on safety features like lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and stability control. It also makes these features impossible to disable when Teen Driver is activated.
Each of the 10 vehicles also provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Both systems were designed to help drivers access their smartphone with voice commands, which discourages the dangerous and even deadly distraction of picking up a mobile device while driving.
In-Vehicle Report Card
The in-vehicle report card provides a variety of helpful details, which are shown on the color touch screen in the center stack. Depending on the vehicle, parents can track such information as the distance driven, maximum speed reached and any warnings issued for driving too quickly. It also allows parents to see if the stability control, traction control or antilock brakes were activated, as well as if the vehicle was driven at wide-open throttle.
If the vehicle is equipped with a forward collision warning system, Teen Driver can also provide a report on forward collision alerts, forward collision braking events and tailgating alerts.
The new technology introduction coincides with two events: the release of a Harris Poll survey — What Parents of Teens Worry About Most — and the fact that this month more than 360,000 teens nationwide will become eligible for a restricted driver’s license in most states, which may set a record.
The Harris Poll was commissioned by Chevrolet and surveyed 638 parents or legal guardians with children between 13 and 17 years old. It found that 55 percent of respondents worry most about their teen driving without adult supervision. That percentage is higher than four other parental concerns, including academic performance (53 percent), drug and alcohol use (52 percent), sexual activity (49 percent) and problems with friends (41 percent).
Teenagers: Death by Automobile
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2013, 2,163 teenagers between 16 and 19 years old died in motor vehicle crashes. Further, teens are nearly three times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than drivers who are at least 20 years old. Notably, approximately two-thirds of teens who lose their lives are male.
Chevrolet isn’t the only manufacturer offering teen driving minder technologies. Launched in 2010, Ford’s MyKey system offers similar assistance. Hyundai’s Blue Link and Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 telematics system also have parental tools. Moreover, other manufacturers, including Toyota, back initiatives such as a “mutual driving agreement,” representing a contract between parents and teens to encourage safe driving practices.
In all, such parental tools can help novice drivers make wise choices. Of course, nothing should substitute the ongoing communication between parents and teens. Tools such as Chevrolet Teen Driver provide a desirable starting point for those discussions.