Ford is making it easier for you to make your car safer when you lend it out to your P-plater teenage child for the night. The car maker's smart MyKey system has been tweaked and improved after a local survey of teenage drivers and their parents, adding more features and more adjustability into an already useful safety setup.
NRMA Motoring and Ford collaborated on the research, which found that, interestingly, parents are more concerned about driving distractions like texting, fiddling with a radio, or making eyes at the girl in the passenger seat than speeding when it comes to their teenage progeny. 61 per cent of parents are concerned about their children not paying attention to the road; a whopping 40 per cent of teens surveyed did admit to driving distracted.
Speeding is still an issue, too, of course — 41 per cent of parents concerned by that possibility; and teens are almost as likely to speed as they are to drive distracted. Males are twice as likely to drive in excess of 120km/h than females, if the stats are to be trusted. Both of these issues are addressed rather adroitly by Ford's MyKey tech, which it showed off today as it announced a roll-out to more vehicles in the near future.
MyKey is a system perfectly catering to parents that want to impose slight but meaningful restrictions on their inexperienced teenage, driving-age children. Using a secondary key or keys — which can be designated as MyKeys through a quick and simple in-car setup process, no PC or smartphone fiddling required — the owner of the administrator key can set a number of governors on the vehicle when it's driven.
You can set a top speed limit, with the revamped setup switching out the single 140km/h governor for a four-stage 100/110/120/130km/h restrictor — this is a huge step in restricting dangerous speeding. The traction control and electronic stability programme can be locked on, as can a set speed alert to notify young drivers when they exceed a certain rate of motion (but still allow acceleration), and also raise the 'low fuel' warning from 70km to 140km.
There's also one novel adjustment that limits the maximum volume of the stereo — from a comparative unrestricted top volume level of '30', the restrictor lowers it to '14' — in practice, it's still loud, but quiet enough that you could have a conversation with a passenger, and more importantly, can hear outside noises like other cars' horns or approaching sirens. It will also prevent your rebellious youth offspring from driving happy laps around the local main drag with the stereo blasting and annoying all the neighbours.
Of course, there's nothing stopping your kids from borrowing the administrator key and changing all the MyKey settings — we imagine the stereo volume limiter will be a popular target for covert adjustment. But, if you're conscientious, and you trust your children, then MyKey is a great idea. It's also included as standard on all the models it's already available in and will be rolling out to in the future, so you don't have to pay extra for the privilege and the added safety.
The MyKey system is currently available across the entire Fiesta range, after launching on the brilliant Fiesta ST, and will be rolling out across the new Focus, Mondeo and the new Mustang when those vehicles are launched later this year and into 2015. [Ford]