Car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for teens in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report an estimated six teens ages 16 to 19 die every day in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. Hundreds more are injured. Teens ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be in fatal crashes than those age 20 and older, added the CDC. Fortunately, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road.
If you’re the parent of a teen driver, CDC statistics about fatal car crashes surely leave you fearful. The good news is there are things you can do to keep your teen driver safe on the road. It all starts with choosing the right vehicle and making sure the car is properly equipped.
The Chevrolet Malibu is a top choice for car buyers. The Malibu comes with a wealth of features specifically designed to help encourage safe driving habits for teens. Plus, standard features including automatic transmission ensure less driver distraction. If you purchase this family sedan with your young driver in mind, it’s important to know about these features so you can make informed choices when optioning the car.
Here are some key features we recommend choosing a Chevy Malibu for a teen driver. These are all available on the ninth-generation model, which was introduced in 2016. This means you can access these amenities whether you’re buying a new or used Chevrolet Malibu.
1. Teen Driver Technology
The Malibu’s Teen Driver technology is a godsend for parents of young drivers. It includes features that can help instill safe driving habits in those who lack experience behind the wheel. This technology bundles the following amenities:
- Buckle to Drive: This feature helps teens remember to buckle up when driving. If seat belts aren’t buckled, it prevents the driver from shifting out of park for up to 20 seconds. It also provides audible and visual reminders encouraging the driver to buckle up.
- Speed Warning: This amenity issues a warning when the vehicle travels over a preset speed.
- Speed Limiter: The Speed Limiter allows you to restrict the Malibu’s maximum speed to 85 miles per hour.
- Audio Limit: If the car’s stereo is too loud, it can hinder safety by preventing the driver from hearing things such as sirens and horns. With the Audio Limit feature, you can set a limit on the car’s audio volume. This will prevent your teen from driving with the stereo turned up to unsafe levels.
- Seat Belt Audio Mute: This feature mutes the stereo until the driver and front passenger have buckled their seat belts.
- In-vehicle Report Card: The amenity takes note of your teen’s driving patterns, looking at things such as maximum speed and braking habits. It provides a report card you can use to get a sense of what your teen’s weak spots are when he or she is behind the wheel.
The Malibu is currently sold in six trim levels: L, LS, RS, LT, Hybrid and Premier. Teen Driver technology is standard on all trims except the base L model.
2. Driver Confidence Package
It’s impossible to overstate the value provided by driver-assistance features. They add an automatic layer of accident prevention. They’re useful for all drivers, but they’re especially important for teens because they compensate for a teen driver’s lack of experience.
The Malibu’s Driver Confidence package bundles equipment that’s essential for a teen driver. It includes the following driver-assistance features:
- Rear Park Assist: These rear parking sensors can help prevent dings and dents when backing into a parking spot.
- Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert: It’s hard to see what’s in your blind spot when you’re on the road, and even the most experienced driver can make unsafe lane changes. This blind-spot monitor lets your teen know if there’s an adjacent vehicle when changing lanes.
- Rear Cross-traffic Alert: It’s all too easy to collide with something as you’re reversing. This feature issues a warning if there’s an obstacle in your path as you’re backing up the Malibu.
The Driver Confidence package is available on LT, Hybrid and Premier trim levels.
3. Driver Confidence Package II
This package further expands the Malibu’s range of driver-assistance features. It includes the following amenities:
- IntelliBeam High Beam Assist: This feature automatically activates the high beams on dark stretches of road. If there’s oncoming traffic, it automatically turns the high beams off.
- Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning: This amenity warns drivers if they drift into another lane. If these warnings are ignored, the system automatically steers the vehicle to keep it centered in its lane.
- Forward Collision Alert: This feature issues a warning if it senses that an object in the car’s path could cause a collision.
- Following Distance Indicator: This technology discourages tailgating by alerting the driver if they are too close to the vehicle immediately ahead.
- Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking: This feature operates between 5 and 37 miles per hour. It automatically activates the brakes to prevent an accident if it determines that a collision is imminent.
Chevy’s Driver Confidence Package II is offered on LT, Hybrid and Premier models.
4. Confidence III Package
Choose this package if you want to provide the maximum amount of driver-assistive support for your teen. It includes these features:
- Adaptive Cruise Control: This amenity ensures the driver maintains a constant distance behind the vehicle immediately ahead when traveling on the freeway.
- Forward Automatic Braking: This feature functions just like Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, but it works at higher speeds.
- Automatic Parking Assist: This amenity assists with parallel and perpendicular parking by steering the vehicle into place while the driver handles braking and acceleration.
This package is offered solely on the Malibu’s Premier trim.
The Malibu offers teen-friendly features that aren’t available with rival models like the Toyota Camry. The amenities discussed above can help your young driver develop safer habits behind the wheel.
The Malibu doesn’t mean you need to forego solid technology including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, remote start and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It just means you can control it to ensure teen driver safety as they hone their driver habits.