Ford Motor Co. “MyKey” — teenage driver safety device

A few years ago, techie friends of mine installed a device on their car that recorded certain aspects of their teenager’s driving. They were aghast when they checked the device and saw that their son had reached a speed of 111mph at 1:30am one morning.

Given that approximately 5,000 teenagers die in car accidents in the United States every year, installing the device seemed very sane. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says teenage drivers have an accident rate that is 10 times more than that of drivers between the ages of 30 and 59.

For those parents who aren’t tech savvy enough to install a device on their automobile, Ford Motor Company is introducing MyKey. I read in The Seattle Times today about MyKey, and because I have three teenagers, I was intrigued.

MyKey is a key with a computer chip in it. Parents can program the key with various limits and thus, control some of their teenager’s driving habits. The key, which disables the car’s ability to drive more than 80 mph, also allows parents to:

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  • Limit radio/audio volume of the car’s stereo system.
  • Provides continuous seat belt alerts if the driver and passengers do not fasten seat belts.
  • Set chimes to ring when teens exceed other speed limits, for example 45, 55, or 65.

Ford will offer MyKey in selected cars and trucks in 2010. They plan to eventually provide the MyKey for all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury automobiles.

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