Distractions, speed and failure to use seat belts are the main causes of fatal car crashes involving teens.
That’s why Ford Motor Co. has created the MyKey feature for its autos starting with the 2010 Ford Focus. The new technology was demonstrated Tuesday morning at Sterling Regional High School in Somerdale.
“It will become standard across the line including Ford, Lincoln and Mercury,” said Violet Marley of Stratford, a MyKey technology representative for Ford. “I think the features are gentle reminders and not a controlling feature.”
Two keys are used — one for the parents and one for the teen driver, which is called the MyKey. The “admin” key, used by parents, is used to set limits. The speed is limited to 80 mph, the stereo volume is maxed out at 44 percent and a reminder chime can be set at 45, 55 or 65 mph.
“If the teen drives away without a seatbelt latched it will keep dinging and the radio will be muted until they are seat-belted,” Marley said. “There’s also a MyKey traction control that keeps kids from doing doughnuts and provides better traction.”
An average of 6,000 teens nationwide die annually and, since 2001, New Jersey alone has lost more than 400 teenagers to fatal car crashes.