2016 Chevy Malibu to Feature ‘Teen Driver’ Mode

July 1st, 2015 by

As one of the firsts in the automotive industry to carry an on board interactive safety system, “Teen Driver” will come as a standard feature on the premium 2016 Chevy Malibu.  With more and more staggering statistics about teen accidents, parents and car manufacturers alike are taking larger strides in protecting their teens as they get behind the wheel.

By taking advantage of the technology available, parents who are interested in how well their teen’s are driving when they’re not around can now keep track.  “Teen Driver” records certain information such as speed, mileage, radio volume then rates the teen on a report card.  The parents have access to this information to see how well their teen did and then the hope is the report will open dialogue about safe driving.

Why So Much Concern?

Chevrolet Teen Driver

Chevrolet of Lexington KY understands.  Unfortunately, teenagers are prone to certain behaviors that just makes their parents cringe.  No matter how hard you try, at some point, your teenager will forget, even if just for a moment, every bit of advice or lesson you ever instilled in them.  This isn’t their fault; it is their age (of course you can’t tell them that).

Teenagers are innately poor drivers.  They make poor decisions, exhibit questionable levels maturity, posses total commitment to invincibility and because of their inexperience in driving, lack a proper skill set. Yet it is during this time in a young adult’s life that as a society we deem it a good idea to let teens start operating heavy equipment that can be potentially fatal.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States reports that the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16 to 19-year-olds is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over.  According to AAA, teens have the highest number of vehicle accidents every year.  These statistics are very disconcerting for parents and teens alike.

Distractions play a large role in teen accidents. During tests done by AAA in order to gain statistics on teenage driving and accidents, found that distractions were responsible for six out of ten moderate to severe accidents.  Cell phone use and interactions with passengers make up 12-15% of all teenage accidents.

“We developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids — they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits,”  GM safety engineer MaryAnn Beebe.

How Does It Work?

chevy mylink 2016 malibu

As part of the on board infotainment system, parents can hook up the MyLink system via touch screen on the interface of 2016 Malibu.  Through this system parents can set limits on speed, volume, and mileage.  The Teen Drive system will give a visual and audible warning if any of the parental presets are exceeded.  Parents can access this information from the MyLink system.

Teen Driver works when parent enables the feature by creating a PIN in the Settings menu of their available MyLink system.  The parent’s will then need to register their teen’s key fob. The system’s settings are turned on only to registered key fobs. Using the touchscreen on the interface, parents will have the access to predetermine speed limits, mileage, and volume.  Only the key set to the specifications will access Teen Drive mode.

Teen Driver Report Card

Along with the presets made by the parents, the system will lower or mute volume when a passenger or driver is not wearing a safety belt.   

Teen Driver will further alert the driver and parents to any of these situations should they arise: stability control, front and rear park assist, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, forward collision braking and traction control.

At the end of the journey, the parent gets to review a ‘report card’ of sorts which will highlight if any of these above mentioned systems were utilized and further if any of the parental presets were exceeded.  While this may be viewed as a bit ‘Orwellian’, you cannot say these parents don’t care about either their car or teens’ safety.


Chevy Report Card

While there are so many obvious benefits to Teen Driver, there are a few who remain skeptical.  Some have considered this technology to be ‘spyware’ and have compared this information to  being as invasive as the NSA.  Really.

Like with any new product, critiques are welcome and GM is open to hearing them.  They can only improve on what they already have and given this as a jumping point, I’d say the future is looking great.  However, even teens and parents alike have some some constructive concerns and feedback to share.

If any of the presets are exceeded, nothing really happens; it simply tells on you.  My guess is if your parents are concerned about your safety enough to have a preset key fob for you, they’re also the parents who are going to sit you down and talk about your excessive speeding in their vehicle.  The best way to not be found guilty is to not commit the crime.

What kind of teenager is driving a brand new 4-door Chevy Malibu?  Valid. Back when I was learning to drive no parent I knew was letting their teen drive their, or any, brand new car.  However, times are different and statistics are staggering.  There is a great deal of parents who care enough about their teenagers and want to ensure their utmost in safety (note: this is not to say my parents, or any back then, didn’t care.  Time, cars and technology were so vastly different even twenty years ago that it almost seems archaic).  Given the level of information we can obtain from our vehicles, doesn’t it just make sense we start using to better our everyday lives and the lives our loved ones?

Teen Driver doesn’t address distractions like passengers and cell phones.  True, but if you are purchasing the new 2016 Malibu with Teen Driver, my guess is you are already, or at the very least feel an obligation to be, a responsible parent active in your teen’s life.  Setting a key fob for your teen is probably not the first time you’ve had a conversation with them about car safety and on the off chance it is and are still reading this; do more.  Get involved in your teen’s life.

Be an Active Participant

Let’s face it, GM and other manufacturers can only do so much.  The best way to teach your teenagers about safe driving is to set the example yourself.  Be cognisant of your behavior while you are driving your children/teens around.

Have a conversation involving your entire family about car safety do’s and don’ts.  Sure, your teens are going to call you out on some bad habits you have, but this is a great time to show them how serious you are about safety that even you are willing to change.  (Right, dad?)  Remember, your bad habits are their examples.

Chevrolet Is On Your Side

Teen Driver has no subscription and comes as a standard feature in the 2016 Malibu Premium trim and will be optional on the LT models.  That means there is no additional fee, no added costs.  Chevy wants to ensure safety in all drivers, young and old alike.  A lot of drivers on the road right now, even if you’ve been driving for years, could benefit from a reminder every now and again.  Even if no one looks at it but you, a report card can always be good for your own sake.