My teenage daughter recently started driving this month. Life has changed for me. Every time she asks to use my car, my brain goes into sense overload with feelings of panic, stress, and fear. Recently, I started looking at vehicles that I may be able to buy for her that would increase her safety. What I found was the 2012 Ford Focus that features a smart key called MyKey. Ford's new technology is a part of their ongoing effort to reduce teen driver accidents.
MyKey features enable owners to:
Limit the volume of the radio, thereby reducing chances of a teen driver being distracted from the road.Limit the top speed of the car to 80 miles per hour. The key is programmed to chime at intervals of 45mph, 55 mph, and 65 mph.Encourage seat belt use, using a feature that enables radio mute if the seatbelt isn't latched. The MyKey feature also persistently emits a 6 second reminder chime every minute for 5 minutes until your teen driver buckles their belt. Also, the display "buckle up to unmute radio" is shown on the instrument panel.Provide earlier low gas reminders; instead of showing up at 50 miles to empty, it appears at 75 miles to empty.When the key is in the ignition, it has a blind spot information system and a parking aid that helps in parallel parking. It cannot be disabled.
In my car buying research, I found that the MyKey encourages safer driving, especially among new teen drivers. Teen drivers surveyed stated that they would be open to this key, because it would mean they would have more freedom to drive because their parents would be less worried when they were using the car. About 50% of parents surveyed, said that they if they had this key, they would be more likely to let their teenagers drive the family vehicle more often. The MyKey technology has the added benefit of teaching teens to limit their speed when driving and increases the fuel economy of the car.
For even better peace of mind, I found in my research how GPS tracking systems, combined with MyKey, can tremendously reduce the number of accidents teens are involved in. Using both of these together, parents have so much more control over their teen's driving habits. These devices allow parents and teenagers to be more aware of how safely they are driving, thus reducing reckless and distracted driving.
My name is Jennifer Katz, and I am the mother of a new teen driver. I created my website, http://www.teendrivertracking.com, with the hope of being able to educate other parents of teen drivers on how to keep their teens safe. I would also love to hear from parents about their experiences with their teen drivers, and what they do to keep their teens safe.