While it’s only natural for parents to worry about their new driving teenager, the sobering statistics around young drivers underscore why parents should be concerned -- especially in the summer months. Ford’s analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data proves that teen driver fatalities occur more often every month beginning in May before tapering off in September. It’s these kinds of statistics that helped lead Ford to develop its MyKey system. Now over 6 million Ford vehicles are equipped with Ford’s MyKey system.
Determined to keep his two daughters safe behind the wheel, Ford safety planning and strategy manager Andy Sarkisian came up with the idea for MyKey. One of Andy’s two daughters had been involved in two rollover accidents and had survived both due in part to constant seatbelt reminders from her parents.
"We were brainstorming at work, thinking, ‘Is there anything we can do to our vehicles – anything we could add – to keep our kids safer?’” recalls Sarkisian, who has been with Ford for 35 years. “At the time, I was living out the scenario at home.”
Of course the kids should still have their freedom, but it helps them transition into adulthood behind the wheel with the easily programmable options that MyKey offers. These options include:
-Persistent Ford Belt-Minder that mutes the radio to remind teens to buckle up along with a message on the instrument panel displaying “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio”
-Volume Control for the audio system set to 44 percent of maximum output
-A speed alert chimes at speeds of 45, 55, and 65 mph to remind teens to slow down. Parents can also cap the speed at 80 mph.
-"Do Not Disturb” helps parents block incoming phone calls and holds text messages on a phone when paired with Ford SYNC when teens are behind the wheel.
-Additional warnings display when the fuel level reaches 25 and 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides an extra warning at 75 miles until empty to remind your teen to stop for gas.
The “Do Not Disturb” helps parents minimize the risk of distracted driving, which is a big concern with new and inexperienced drivers. Incoming calls are forwarded to voicemail and texts are saved to the device for later viewing. Drivers can still make voice-activated outgoing calls, and SYNC 911 Assist still works in case of an emergency.
"Do Not Disturb’ is yet another way Ford is helping parents encourage their kids to drive safer,” says Sarkisian. “We are continually listening to our customers and responding to parents’ desire to make sure their kids are paying attention to the road, not their cell phones.”
While freedom still exists for teens while out on the open road, this is just a way to help remind them that the open road can be a dangerous place and the less distractions, the better for safe traveling.