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Teen driving of greater concern than drugs

Driving has topped grades, drugs and sex as biggest parental anxiety

Published: August 24, 2016, 2:20 AM
Updated: August 24, 2016, 6:24 AM

Distracted teen drivers

A recent survey commissioned by Chevrolet has shown that driving has eclipsed grades, drugs and sex as the most prominent of parents’ anxieties about their teenaged children.

Conducted by Harris Poll, the online survey asked 638 parents/legal guardians of children between the ages of 13 and 17. It found that 55% of parents were concerned about their children driving, compared to 53% concern about grades, 52% over drug and alcohol use, and 49% over sexual activity.

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It is estimated that more than 360,000 teens in the US will become eligible for restricted driver’s licenses in the month leading up to the start of school.

“I, like many of our employees, am a parent of teenagers, so we personally understand the anxiety of having a teen driver in the house,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing for Chevrolet’s Cars and Crossovers. “And while we can’t control a teen’s behavior when they are in a car without a parent, Chevrolet’s Teen Driver Technology can remind them to buckle up and avoid speeding, while our other available active safety features can help to alert them in certain situations when they’re making less-than-perfect driving decisions.”

Chevrolet offers Teen Driver Technology on 10 of its more popular vehicles for 2017. Following the programming of a “teen” key, the technology offers an in-vehicle report card on how a teen driver performed behind the wheel, providing a way for parents to address best driving practices with their charges.

The system also mutes the audio playback when front seat occupants aren’t wearing belts, allows parents to set the maximum audio volume, and allows pre-set speeds and offers audible and visual warnings when that set speed is exceeded. Plus, whatever active driving aids (including lane departure warning, lane keep assist, parking assist, blind zone alert and automatic braking, and stability and traction control, among others) are fitted in the vehicle are automatically switched on in “teen” mode and unable to be disabled.

“As a mother of two, it’s extremely important to find solutions that can help young drivers on the road,” said MaryAnn Beebe, Chevrolet safety engineer. “Chevrolet developed this system as a tool that can give teens some additional coaching as they’re gaining experience. Driving on your own is a big milestone for teens, and Teen Driver helps to remind them to practice safe driving. And for parents, it’s easier to give guidance to your teen when you have some information on what they’re doing behind the wheel.”

Maximum Speed Breach warning

The Teen Driver report card (which is standard equipment that does not demand a paid subscription) tracks things such as distance driven, maximum speed attained, the number of warnings issued for exceeding the speed limit, events when the stability or traction control kicked in (indicating excessive speed in situations that demand slowing down), ABS events, and full-throttle events.

The technology is available on Bolt EV, Camaro, Colorado, Cruze, Malibu, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe and Volt. To use the safety technology, a parent must register their teen’s key fob in the vehicle’s system settings.

Teen Driver cars are also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility to encourage teens to link their phones in order to avoid hand-held phone use while driving.