Ford’s MyKey safety system helps parents control teen’s driving habits
- Written by Wilson Calvert
New features include limitation of explicit satellite radio content Ford’s MyKey system, originally released in 2009, provides the ability to block explicit satellite radio content. The MyKey system allows parents to add parental controls to many aspects of a car depending on which key you use to start the vehicle. Parents can give their teenage drivers a key that the car is encoded to recognize and do things like lower the speed limiter, control audio volume and notify drivers earlier if they are close to running out of fuel. Many of Ford’s vehicles already offer the MyKey system such as the Ford Focus, Ford F-150 and Ford Taurus, but the new upgraded system that will allow content control for satellite radio will debut on next years Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer models. The feature parents are most likely to appreciate is the lower of the top speed limiter. Cars today are “governed” from the factory by the car’s computer because of the speed rating of the tires that came from the factory. This number can well exceed 100 mph, which is quite a bit faster than is legal on public roads. The current generation of MyKey allows parents to limit the speed at 80 mph whereas the new system will allow four choices: 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph. The system can also prevent the disabling of the traction control system, which is necessary to do burnouts. My other favorite feature of the MyKey system, which is available on the current iteration of MyKey, is the ability to lock out audio if the seat belt isn’t fastened when riders occupy either of the front seats. A friendly message is displayed on the dash to remind the driver to simply buckle up if they would like to hear their music. Their choice of music on satellite radio will be limited though with the release of next year’s upgraded MyKey system which will allow adults to block the 16 satellite radio stations labeled as explicit, which include the Howard Stern station and stations like Hip-Hop nation which allow fully unedited explicit-language music. Parents will also be able to limit music volume to as little as 44 percent of maximum, which with Ford’s new wonderful stereo systems is plenty for all occupants of the car to enjoy. All of these features may sound like music to parents’ ears, but just limiting your teenager to 65 mph and PG rated satellite radio is not going to make them a safe driver; 65 mph is plenty of speed to kill themselves and others. It is completely the parents’ responsibility to make sure that their teenage driver is mature and skillful enough to pilot a vehicle. Ford surveyed teenage drivers. and surprise surprise, the majority of responders didn’t like it. However, almost half of them said that they would be willing to bear the brunt of the system if it allowed them to have expanded driving privileges (like they would have a say in the matter!). If I were still a teenage driver, this system would be not only controlling but embarrassing; but if I had my own teenage driver, then you can be sure that this system would be enabled. Photo: The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer will have the new MyKey system standard on every model.