Ford’s new MyKey = parents’ remote control for teen drivers


Ford's MyKey feature allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 mph.

According to recent Harris Interactive Survey, MyKey appeals to parents of teen drivers, including 75% who like the speed-limiting feature, 72% who like the more insistent safety-belt reminder, and 63% who like the audio limit feature.

About 50% of those who would consider purchasing MyKey also said they would allow their children to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with the new technology.

More than half of parents surveyed worry that their teenage children are driving too fast, talking or texting on hand-held cell phones or are otherwise distracted. More than a third of parents also are concerned that their teens do not always buckle their safety belts when driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30% of all fatal crashes, and are also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.

Teenagers surveyed by Harris said they are largely open to MyKey if it means they will have more freedom to drive. Initially, 67% said they wouldn't want MyKey features, but if MyKey would lead to greater driving privileges, only 36% would object to the technology.

"We've upgraded an existing, proven technology – the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system – with some simple software upgrades to develop a new unique feature that we believe will resonate with customers," said Jim Buczkowski, director of Electrical & Electronic Systems Engineering, the same team that developed SYNC in partnership with Microsoft. "We also developed MyKey's functions in such a way to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines, giving us the ability to go mass market in the spirit of other Ford innovations such as safety belts, stability control and SYNC."

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