2022 is the year large SUVs and full-size trucks get safer.
Seatbelts save lives. End of story. But for some reason, there are still countless people who refuse to buckle up. Some will cite gun holsters, a large physical frame, or discomfort as reasons not to buckle up, but the fact is that without a seatbelt, there's nothing to stop you from being ejected out of a car in the event of a crash. When you consider that US traffic deaths are the highest they've been in over a decade, despite the incredible technologies that have made driving safer, the need for all to buckle up should be apparent. To try to encourage more widespread use of seatbelts, GM is now reported to be making its 'Buckle to Drive' mode standard across a multitude of new 2022 vehicles.
The system was first debuted under the Teen Driver mode on Chevrolet vehicles in 2019 and won't allow a driver to shift out of park until the driver buckles up. This feature was seen on the Colorado, Traverse, Canyon, Equinox, Blazer, and Malibu and is now reported to be making its way to more new SUVs and full-size trucks for the 2022 model year, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. According to GM-Techlink, for 2023 models, the system will be rolled out across more vehicles and could even add the requirement for a front passenger to buckle up too before allowing the vehicle to set off.
However, there may be backlash. In the past, a system that prevented the ignition system from activating until the seatbelt was fastened was met with widespread complaint, causing these so-called "interlock" systems to be outlawed. Perhaps GM is thinking of this instance when it tells us that the Buckle to Drive system can be deactivated via the on-screen settings menus, but we sincerely hope that most users leave the system active or simply buckle up without encouragement.
We don't have official confirmation that the feature will indeed be making its way to more new vehicles, nor do we know how the feature will be implemented, but anything that improves road safety looks like a win to us.