Photo via Wikimedia.

Photo via Wikimedia.

General Motors announced plans to launch a seat belt assurance system on select fleet vehicles that will not allow shifting from park until the driver and front passenger are wearing their seat belts.

The automaker plans to introduce the system later this year.

“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 of 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.” 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s "Click it or Ticket" public safety campaign began this month. Fatalities among unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants are at a five-year high, so GM and OnStar were eager to join the effort to encourage 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. 

Seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives in 2012. From 2008 through 2012, seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives, NHTSA said.

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” enforcement campaign, which extends through June 1.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet