We'll see how this works out... Like any first-generation product, there's bound to be better solutions to follow, but kudos to Ford for being the first automaker to make an effort to address the inherent dangers of teen driving!

Starting next year, Ford Motor will roll out a feature on many 2010 models that can limit teen drivers to 80 mph, using a computer chip in the key. Parents also have the option of programming the teen's key to limit the audio system's volume, and to sound continuous alerts if the driver doesn't wear a seat belt.

"Our message to parents is, hey, we are providing you some conditions to give your new drivers that may allow you to feel a little more comfortable in giving them the car more often," said Jim Buczkowski, Ford's director of electronic and electrical systems engineering.

The feature, called "MyKey," will debut on the 2010 Focus compact car.

It will be standard on an unspecified number of Ford models when the 2010 cars and trucks come out late next summer. The feature will spread to the entire Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup as models are updated, spokesman Wes Sherwood said.

"It's making use of existing technology, and through the magic of software, we're able to build features on top of the features we already have," Buczkowski said.

In addition to speed limits, MyKey also will limit the volume of the audio system, and it will sound a six-second chime every minute if seat belts are not fastened. The chime sounds for adult drivers, too, but ends after five minutes to avoid annoying adults who adamantly don't want to wear seat belts, Buczkowski said.

Parents also have the option of having the car sound a chime if the teen exceeds 45, 55 or 65 mph.

Ford said its market research shows 75% of parents like the speed and audio limits, but as you might expect, 67% of teens don't.

Source: USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2008-10-06-ford-key_N.htm

And, while we're on this topic, State Farm has just released findings of a 5-year study that indicates October is the most dangerous month of the year for teen drivers.

Source: Central Illinois Proud.com
http://centralillinoisproud.com/content/fulltext/?cid=25641

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