General Motors might be in the middle of a recall crisis, but safety advancements for new cars is still top of mind. In coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Click It or Ticket campaign, the automaker is announcing a new, optional Belt Assurance System on some of its fleet models for later this year.
The system ensures that both the driver and front passenger are wearing their seat belts by not letting the vehicle shift out of Park if it detects that they aren't buckled. GM spokesperson Jennifer Ecclestone tells Autoblog that the system uses the same sensor as the airbag to detect whether someone is in the seat. The vehicle can still turn on, just not drive.

The feature will be offered as an option in 2015 model year examples of the Chevrolet Cruze, Colorado, Silverado and GMC Sierra. However, this won't be a option that normal buyers will be able to order. "We are rolling it out with a small group of fleet customers first," said Ecclestone. The fleets will be able to spec the Belt Assurance System for no additional cost beginning in the third or fourth quarter of 2014. With a positive response, Ecclestone indicated GM could offer the technology more widely.

According to NHTSA, 87 percent of drivers already wear seat belts as of 2013, but they are still the best way to save lives in a car accident. Of course, we can totally see how this system could become a nuisance if the sensors malfunction. What do you think? Is it a good idea to not let a vehicle move unless the front passengers are belted? Let us know in the poll below, and scroll down to read all of the details about it in the company's release.

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GM and OnStar Aim to Help Buckle Up America
NHTSA's 'Click it or Ticket' campaign opens amid rise in unbelted deaths

2014-05-19
DETROIT – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 'Click it or Ticket' public safety campaign opens this year amid the first increase in fatalities in five years for unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants.

General Motors and OnStar are joining in the effort to get people to buckle up whenever they're in a vehicle.

According to NHTSA, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. The Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization aims to continue to help raise the national seat belt use rate beyond the estimated 87 percent in 2013.

In support of the Click it or Ticket campaign, GM is announcing plans to launch a new Belt Assurance System on select fleet vehicles later this year. This belt assurance system was developed by GM to help ensure the driver and right front passenger are belted prior to the vehicle being driven. This system does not allow shifting from "park" until the driver and right front seat belts are buckled.

"Customer safety is on the forefront of everything we do. It is essential for the safety of our customers' and all drivers' safety to develop the habit of buckling up each and every time they get into their vehicles," said Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM global vehicle safety. "We continue to support this program by NHTSA to remind our drivers to buckle up each time they start their vehicles while also developing other safety features like our Belt Assurance System."

According to NHTSA, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying in 2012. From 2008 – 2012 seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives.

OnStar will be supporting the effort by reminding subscribers who press the blue OnStar button for non-emergency requests to "Remember to stay buckled up." The reminder will take place throughout the duration of NHTSA's Click it or Ticket campaign today through June 1.

General Motors applauds the efforts of law enforcement officers and safety officials who are mobilizing across the nation May 19 through June 1 to enforce safety belt use laws in order to save lives and prevent injuries, Boyer said.

# # #

About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

# # #

About OnStar LLC
OnStar, LLC (OnStar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC ("GM"). Along with its affiliate Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd (a joint venture involving OnStar, Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd (SGM) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)), OnStar serves more than 6.5 million subscribers in the U.S, Canada and China. OnStar is a provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology and is available on 39 GM branded 2013 model year vehicles. OnStar's key services include automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling.


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  • 143 Comments
      MTU 5.0
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'm all for seatbelt use, but I don't want to get stuck with an inoperable vehicle, because a sensor isn't reading the passenger belt right, or some other electric gremlin. Reliability would have to be exceptional for this to even be a consideration. Right now, I would not want that. Stick with the annoying chime.
        AutoVido
        • 7 Months Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        I understand what you are saying, but perhaps this unintended consequence is positive, too... would the malfunction help you realize that the bomb a few feet from your face is malfunctioning, too?
      Jaclock LaGlock
      • 7 Months Ago
      I find it hard to believe that people don't wear seat belts. I find it awkward and uncomfortable if I don't have mine on. I'm guessing the people that don't wear one are 300+ lbs and have to shoehorn themselves in and out of the vehicle.
        Susan
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Jaclock LaGlock
        In my part of the country, non-seatbelt drivers are often young or of a poorly-educated demographic. And in my town, single car accidents (surprisingly common) that include a fatality inevitably mean an unbelted person was thrown from the car. They literally drive down an embankment or into a tree and die.
          Rob8
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Susan
          and the sun still comes up in the morning...
      Sorten Borten
      • 7 Months Ago
      I say if the in-car chimes and 40 years of public service announcements aren't enough, just let the holdouts take themselves out of the gene pool. They're doing us a favor.
        Bruce Lee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Sorten Borten
        The thing is that while I agree that people who don't wear seatbelts really only have themselves to blame if they're horribly maimed in an accident, some people who end up being perfectly reasonable adults do a lot of stupid stuff as teenagers before they end up realizing they're not immortal or bulletproof. And frankly if I had a teen kid this is exactly the kind of feature I'd want in a car-that way I'm sure they have their seatbelts on and aren't being idiots to impress their fellow idiot friends or whatever.
      John Ralphio
      • 7 Months Ago
      An easy workaround would be to just buckle the belt before you enter the car and sit on top of it. I question why such a safety feature should exist, It's common sense. If I just want to re-position my car in the driveway, I'm not going to buckle my seat belt. If this feature was standard, I would find this highly annoying.
      michaelmcgrath
      • 7 Months Ago
      Let Darwin's Law sort it out.
        AutoVido
        • 7 Months Ago
        @michaelmcgrath
        That's fine if it was an all or nothing situation (and we ignore children). But here in reality you and I will have to pay the medical bills for the people who survive the accident but require constant medical care. And even if you live somewhere without state run medicine, you still have to factor in the overall cost of lost wages (and tax paid) by the Darwin Law survivor, their family, increased insurance costs, and so on.
      reattadudes
      • 7 Months Ago
      holy shades of 1974! over the years, I can't even count how many cars I've driven that had the "airbag" light illuminated. it will be really fun when the airbag system malfunctions, and you can't get the car out of park. how ill they deal with cars that have a manual transmission? above and beyond that, are there still idiots that drive without their belts on? every late model vehicle I own has a very irritating chime (AND flashing light) that won't stop until the proper belts are fastened. isn't that good enough?
      ammca66564
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sometime in the mid-'70s NHTSA mandated this. People promptly responded by leaving their belts bucked and sitting on them. The reaction was so violent against the regulation that it was dropped in record time. I don't think it even lasted a year. It was a low-water mark for auto safety regulation.
      Jim R
      • 7 Months Ago
      This is exactly what we need. More technology to save us from ourselves.
      mustsvt
      • 7 Months Ago
      in 1974 this was mandated and installed as the seatbelt interlock and was hated so much that Congress actually reversed course in less than a year. I always wear my seat belt whenever I drive, but this is a little too much. Plus there are times (moving a car over in the driveway, etc) where this would be a PITA...
      Nathan
      • 7 Months Ago
      Was there something wrong with an annoying ding? This is such an idiotic idea just because an annoying noise accomplishes the same thing, had been around for decades, and won't immobilize the car if something fails with it.
      ForcedInduction90012
      • 7 Months Ago
      That's fine and dandy until someone is stalking you or trying to mug you, and you're trying to pull off quickly.
        Rob8
        • 7 Months Ago
        @ForcedInduction90012
        Good point actually. How often does it happen? The point is, it CAN happen...
      Susan
      • 7 Months Ago
      I remember an experiment like this around 1973 or 1974. But back then, it raised so much outrage, the car companies had to discontinue the non-start electronics.
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