Ford Introduces MyKey Parental Control Device
By Chris Haak
Ford announced that it will roll out its so-called MyKey to allow parents to keep a tighter rein on the way their young drivers behave themselves in their car. The system will be standard in the 2010 Focus coupe and will eventually become standard equipment on the company’s other models, presumably beginning with the models most likely to have teenage drivers, so by my logic, the last vehicle to get MyKey will be the Mercury Grand Marquis.
MyKey is programmable by parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed, limit maximum audio volume, encourage safety belt usage, initiate earlier low fuel warnings, and sound warning chimes when the car reaches a specific speed, such as 65 miles per hour. MyKey is even able to completely mute the audio system if the seatbelts aren’t fastened.
Understandably, teen drivers aren’t in favor of the concept of MyKey – Ford proudly notes that 67% of teen drivers polled said that they wouldn’t want MyKey, but an unsurprising 75% of parents did . However, when asked how they felt about living with MyKey if it possibly meant greater driving privileges, only 38% were opposed to it.
Frankly, remembering what kind of a driver I was when I was a teenager, a device like this – while it theoretically infringes upon the freedom of a young driver – really would give me some peace of mind as a parent. My children are still more than a decade away from driving a car, but – as were many young males – I sometimes think about how lucky I am to be alive today to write this editorial. Although I was never injured in an auto accident and have had a clean driving record for years, anything that I can do to prevent my sons from repeating my stupidity at that age, whether that be proper parenting, comprehensive driver’s education, technological solutions, or a combination of all three, I plan to do it.
For the kids who don’t like it – tough luck! If you’re driving in a car that you didn’t pay for, you have little choice but to either accept your parents’ rules, or buy your own car and pay for its maintenance, registration, insurance, and fuel. Owning your own car as a teenager might sound appealing, but it’s expensive, and chances are, driving a car that your parents own will be a safer, more comfortable vehicle. Just be glad you’re not my child, because MyKey is just the beginning. I also plan to add a GPS tracking device; my sons probably won’t care, anyway, because they’re more than a dozen years from driving age.
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