How To Teenage-Proof The Car: New Key System Will Allow Parents Restrict The Speed Their Youngsters Drive
5 December 2012 - DailyMail
Protective parents of young drivers can now limit the speed their children drive at using a new kind of key on the market for the first time in the UK from next month.
Ford's myKey system interfaces with the computer systems on board its latest cars to place restrictions on drivers using the special keys.
It works by recognising different keys for the same car and then adjusting the vehicle settings according to the owner’s requirements, with the capacity to limit the top speed to just 130 km/h.
The limits are linked to the specific key, so mothers and fathers concerned about their inexperienced children can limit top speed and stereo volume for youngsters while retaining full functionality for themselves.
The company said: 'Ford’s myKey allows parents to tailor vehicle performance and driver environment to suit individual users.
'Permanent enabling of safety and driver aids as well as speed and audio limiting give parents greater control without impacting on young drivers’ independence.'
Drivers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident in the UK.
On top of limiting speeds and volumes it prevents the driver from deactivating safety technologies like stability control which can which can help prevent low-speed collisions.
Stability control helps prevent the kinds of loss-of-control incidents which inexperienced drivers are more likely to suffer.
The maximum speed cap can be combined with speed limit warning chimes that cut in at 72 km/h, 88 km/h and 104 km/h - a feature included after market research showed speeding was the biggest worry of parents of young drivers.
The MyKey system can also be programmed to alert the driver that fuel is running low sooner than it would normally, with the warning light flashing when 75 miles worth of fuel is left rather than 50 miles.
The feature can limit the volume of the stereo to 44 per cent to ensure youngsters are less distracted and disable the sound system altogether if the driver and passengers are not wearing seatbelts.
MyKey, which has been available in the U.S. since 2009, was developed for the UK by Ford’s Peter Patzelt. 'All parents know that if teenagers are experts at one thing, it’s finding ways of getting into trouble,' he said.
'MyKey allows Fiesta owners to set sensible restrictions for young drivers, and delivers peace-of-mind for parents.
'Parents love myKey because it helps them reduce their teenagers’ exposure to risk at the wheel.
'Young drivers are not too keen on myKey until they learn that it often improves the chances their parents will allow them to drive in the first place.'
MyKey is initially only available on the Ford Fiesta, the UK’s biggest-selling car, but is expected to be introduced across the entire range by 2015.
Road safety charity Brake today praised Ford for its innovation but called on the government to change the laws for learner drivers.
They want the scrapping of intensive courses so young motorists spend a minimum of a year learning to drive as well as a number of restrictions brought in once people pass their test.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer, said: 'Traffic is the biggest killer of young people, so it’s vital that action is taken to tackle the additional risks they face on roads.
'Manufacturers have an important role to pay, and Brake welcomes this initiative.
'However, Brake also urges the government to reform the system of learning to drive to a graduated system, so young drivers can learn to drive gradually, with less exposure to the riskiest situations.'