Ford’s MyKey system is like a babysitter in your car. It’s designed to help any teenage drivers stay safe by following the rules and limiting risks.
When the teenager is driving, the system can limit the car’s top speed to 80 mph (or less in some cases), limit radio volume to 45 percent of its maximum, mute the radio and chime incessantly until both front seat belts are buckled, send all incoming cellular phone calls immediately to voicemail, and provide extra low fuel warnings, so your teenager doesn’t bring the car home without enough gas when you need to use it the next day.
MyKey also prevents teenage drivers from turning off other safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane keeping assistance on cars that have them.
The system determines who’s driving the car based on which of the car’s key fobs is used to start the ignition. Parents can program one key for teen drivers and the other as a master key to change the settings. Every time someone uses the programmed MyKey to start the car, the limits will be active.
Settings can be customized, for example, to set a speed warning at any five mph increment, from 55 mph to the governed maximum 80 mph top speed. Parents can choose whether to allow their kids to turn the active safety systems on or off, and they can set which MyKey limits they want to be active, all using the master key.
General Motors also offers its Teen Driver system in several new mainstream models. GM’s system does most of the same things as Ford’s MyKey. It also sends alerts to parents with the number of miles driven, maximum speed, and notifications when emergency safety systems were engaged.
Most Ford models now include MyKey; most recently it was introduced to the small Transit Connect van. The system has been as popular with commercial fleet operators as it has with parents. Commercial fleet operators use it to keep their drivers on the straight and narrow.
Parents might even use it on themselves to practice modeling good behavior for their teen drivers. Ford studies show that parents are 40 percent more likely than their kids to check their phones while driving.
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