— -- Grim new numbers show traffic deaths are up nine percent so far this year, according to a new study released today by the National Safety Council -- and if trends continue, the United States may see its deadliest driving year since 2007. But Chevrolet is helping ease parents' minds with new tech added to 10 2017 models.
An estimated 19,100 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January -- enough to fill 382 school buses.
This month alone, more than 360,000 teens will receive their driver’s licenses. But for the 16-year-olds transferring off the school buses and into the driver's seat for the first time, distractions like music, friends and cell phones can be deadly.
That's where Chevy comes in.
New technology in 10 Chevrolet 2017 models is designed to keep teens safe.
Introduced in the 2016 Malibu, the technology is called "Teen Driver." The program essentially records teenage drivers' movements in a "in-vehicle report card," which keeps track of, among other options, whether the teen driver speeds, tailgates or uses the forward collision braking technology. Parents can then view the information later on the vehicle's computer screen.
“As a mother of two, it’s extremely important to find solutions that can help young drivers on the road,” said MaryAnn Beebe, a Chevrolet safety engineer who is expecting her third child later this year.
“Chevrolet developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids. It’s easier to give guidance to your teen when you have some information on what they’re doing behind the wheel. It also gives teens an opportunity to gain their parents' trust," Beebe added.
Additionally, the car models (which include the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Camaro, Colorado, Cruze, Malibu, Silverado, Silverado HD, Suburban, Tahoe and Volt) even silence the radio until seat belts are buckled.
According to Chevrolet, the "Teen Driver" program is a non-subscription-based service that remains with the vehicle its entire life. Parents must register their teen’s key fob in the vehicle’s system settings to use it.