So you’re running late to get the kids to soccer practice. You properly buckle them in the second row of your Chevrolet Traverse, jump into the driver seat, turn the ignition and pull away. Then you hear it. That unmistakable bing-bing-bing chime reminding YOU to buckle up.
Today marks Michigan’s 15th year as a state where failure to wear a safety belt is reason enough alone to be pulled over by law enforcement. To commemorate the primary safety belt law and kick off a new year of safety belt enforcement efforts, Chevrolet is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to support the Click It or Ticket campaign and will display the Click It or Ticket logo on the GM Renaissance Center office and hotel complex towers.
In addition, OnStar advisors will remind drivers at the end of non-emergency calls to buckle up. The fine for failing to wear safety belt in the front seat can be as high as $65 in some parts of Michigan.
Since Michigan’s primary safety belt law was enacted 15 years ago, safety belt use has increased – it’s currently about 93 percent – and crash fatalities have decreased about 35 percent.
“Our goal is the safety of our customers,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM Global Vehicle Safety. “With vehicles like the made-in-Michigan Chevrolet Traverse that offer available features like Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and the industry’s first Front Center Air Bag we prove that safety is of the utmost importance to us, both in our state and around the world.”
The Traverse received a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety, the highest awarded in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program. Its industry-first Front Center Air Bag provides protection for both the driver and front passenger in the event of a side-impact collision.
”But the safety belt is the primary restraint for occupant protection,” Boyer said, noting that if the first belt reminder is ignored, the cycle will repeat two more times. “The reminder chime may be seen as a repetitive indication to buckle up, and we’re OK with that because that’s what it’s designed to do.”
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, safety belts saved an estimated 345 lives in Michigan in 2013, the most recent data available. For drivers and front-seat passengers, using a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent in an SUV, van or pickup, and by 45 percent in a car.
"Efforts to increase seat belt use in Michigan have been successful due in large part to the support of our traffic safety partners," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. "We thank General Motors for the company's steadfast commitment to encouraging drivers and passengers to buckle up."
General Motors is responsible for many improvements to the safety belt. Today, in the event of a crash, front safety belt pretensioners can help reduce slack in the seat belt. Safety belt load limiters, combined with frontal airbags, can help limit the belt’s force on the occupant’s chest. And dynamic locking latch-plates may help also improve lower torso restraint and reduce force to the occupant’s chest.
Since November 2014, Chevrolet Cruze vehicles sold to fleet customers offer the Seat Belt Assurance System, which won’t allow the car to drive until seat belts are fastened.