Ford’s MyKey technology offers some good features which make it a nice item to have, but we’re not sure we like this new addition to it. The updated MyKey now offers a control feature that allows parent to block explicit satellite radio programming while their teens are driving. Even worse they can limit a vehicle’s top speed at any of four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 8o mph.
So if you are a teen and your parents have a Ford, you are better off walking around!
The new feature will debut next year as standard equipment on the Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer, and will eventually be available across a variety of Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The radio-blocking feature works by screening out more than a dozen channels labeled by Sirius Satellite Radio as “explicit.”
“Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car,” says Graydon Reitz, director, Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering. “Parents obviously like this type of feature, and many teens are okay 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.”
In a poll conducted for Ford by Penn, Schoen & Berland, nearly 60 percent of parents of teen drivers said the new MyKey feature that allows for blocking explicit radio content is an important technology. The survey also indicated that 85 percent of parents with teen drivers find the speed-limiting feature important.
The additional top-speed limits available in the next generation of MyKey will help parents set appropriate limits as their teens transition from driving in town to traveling on the highway. Additional features already available on MyKey limit audio volume, encourage safety-belt usage by muting the radio until front occupants buckle up, and provide earlier low-fuel warnings.
In the poll, more than half of parents also said they would allow their teens to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with MyKey. Meanwhile, 45 percent of teens surveyed would approve of MyKey restrictions if it meant the possibility of additional driving privileges.
Tuning into teen safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes. Teens also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.
“Like graduated licensing laws, MyKey helps parents set reasonable limits for teens as they’re building driving skills,” Reitz said. “We developed MyKey’s functions in such a way as to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines, giving us the ability to go mass market in the spirit of other Ford innovations such as SYNC®.”
Holding the key
MyKey allows the parent to program any key through the intuitive MyFord Touch™ interface. When the key is inserted into the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip in the key and immediately identifies the MyKey code, which enables certain default driving modes, including:
- Persistent Ford Belt-Minder® with audio mute. Ford’s Belt-Minder system typically provides a six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Belt-Minder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled. A message center display, “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio,” also appears on the instrument cluster
- Earlier low-fuel warning. Rather than a warning at 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides a warning at 75 miles to empty
- If MyKey is in the ignition, features such as park aid and BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert cannot be deactivated
Additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle’s MyFord Touch menu:
- Parental control of explicit radio programming
- Limited top speed of 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph
- Traction control system, which limits tire spin, cannot be deactivated
- Limited audio volume to 44 percent of maximum
- A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph
Using MyKey to encourage teens to avoid speeding can provide an added benefit – improved fuel economy. Ford research shows that driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph consumes 15 percent less fuel, and mastering other eco-driving habits, such as avoiding jackrabbit starts and excessive idling, can help improve fuel economy by more than 50 percent.