Keyto safer teen driv­ers

Par­ents can set a speed limit when their kids have the car, writes Stu­art Martin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

SPEED-LIM­ITERS and ra­dio fil­ters for young driv­ers could be part of the Ford fea­tures list be­fore the end of the year.

The new Fo­cus and Mon­deo are among Ford prod­ucts that could sup­port the up­dated MyKey safety sys­tem, which in the US can be used to re­strict young driv­ers’ ac­cess to satel­lite ra­dio sta­tions and limit ve­hi­cle speed.

Much of Ford’s US prod­uct has the MyKey fea­ture, which now has four max­i­mum speed set­tings — 105km/h, 113km/h, 121km/h or 129km/h.

Ford en­gi­neer­ing di­rec­tor of elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic sys­tems Gray­don Reitz says the com­pany wants to give par­ents peace of mind.

‘‘Par­ents ob­vi­ously like this type of fea­ture, and many teens are OK with it when they hear par­ents may give them the keys more of­ten if the car comes with a technology such as Ford’s MyKey,’’ he says.

The com­pany quotes re­search in­volv­ing par­ents of teenage driv­ers show­ing 85 per cent say the speedlim­it­ing fea­ture is im­por­tant.

US Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­search says teenagers are more likely to take risks such as speed­ing, which it says is a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in 30 per cent of all fa­tal crashes.

In the poll, more than half of par­ents said they would al­low their teens to use the fam­ily ve­hi­cle more of­ten if it had MyKey.

Teenage driv­ers say they like the sys­tem — 45 per cent of those sur­veyed would ap­prove of the MyKey sys­tem if it meant bet­ter ac­cess to the fam­ily car.

The up­graded ver­sion of MyKey will make its de­but as a stan­dard fea­ture late this year on the US Ford Tau­rus and Ex­plorer.

Ford Aus­tralia spokesman Neil McDon­ald was un­will­ing to nom­i­nate a de­but model for the sys­tem in Aus­tralia, but says the com­pany is al­ways look­ing at these new tech­nolo­gies and their ap­pli­ca­tion lo­cally.

‘‘Ab­so­lutely we’d like it, lim­it­ing speed for young driv­ers and things like that, if it’s fea­si­ble and fits into any of our fu­ture prod­ucts and we can of­fer it at an af­ford­able cost — stan­dard or op­tional,’’ he says.

‘‘There are a lot of ques­tions to be an­swered be­fore these things can get the tick, not the least of which is how the sys­tems can be ap­plied lo­cally for our prod­uct line-up.’’

The MyKey technology could ap­pear in the facelifted Mon­deo and com­ing new Fo­cus, both due this year.

Par­ents can pro­gram the MyKey func­tion through the ig­ni­tion key, putting the car’s sys­tem into the ap­pro­pri­ate ‘‘tune’’ for teen driv­ers.

The seat­belt re­minder chime with the MyKey sys­tem con­tin­ues and the sound sys­tem is muted un­til the seat belt is se­cured.

The teen driver also gets an early low-fuel warn­ing, and the sys­tem doesn’t al­low fea­tures such as park­ing sen­sors, blind-spot warn­ing sys­tem and trac­tion con­trol to be turned off.

Ford US is also spruik­ing the MyKey ben­e­fits for fuel econ­omy.

The com­pany’s re­search says driv­ing at 89km/h in­stead of 105km/h con­sumes 15 per cent less fuel.

One good turn: the MyKey sys­tem, con­trolled by a com­puter chip in the key, al­lows par­ents to limit a car’s speed and set a max­i­mum vol­ume for the au­dio sys­tem. It is aimed at mak­ing driv­ing safer for teenagers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.