GM: Buckle Up Or Don’t Go Anywhere

GM and OnStar Aim to Help Buckle Up America

The NHTSA says over 3,000 lives would have been saved in 2012 had all U.S. automobile occupants been wearing seat belts. Compared to the hard-luck stats bemoaned by people on a daily basis, this considerable amount of deaths resulted from people being too lazy or arrogant to buckle a seat belt. There is no excuse. In fact, General Motors (NYSE:GM) plans to make sure there is no excuse for buckling up on the road, as the automaker announced some future vehicles will be impossible to drive without the occupants having their seat belts fastened.

GM said it is working on technology that keeps vehicles in “park” and unable to shift into drive until the front-seat passengers buckle their belts. It will be called the Belt Assurance System, with the announcement arriving ahead of the high-traffic Memorial Day Weekend. GM is launching the initiative in support of the NHTSA’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign that runs annually from mid-May until June 1.

NHTSA ads are seen on major television networks reminding drivers of the dangers involved with driving without a seat belt and how police are on high alert to ticket offenders seen ignoring the mandate. The increase in seat belt awareness comes with the first increase in fatalities (ion 2012) for unbuckled occupants in over five years. The NHTSA estimates that 87 percent of U.S. vehicle occupants now wear seat belts. GM would like to be seen as a key contributor to auto safety initiatives in light of its ignition switch recall debacle. Company officials highlighted this angle in a statement released May 19.