New feature doesn’t do much for me

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

For the parents out there, have you ever wondered how you can stop your teen from driving like a maniac? You know you can’t be there all the time sitting in the passenger’s seat telling him or her to slow down, turn down the music or buckle up. Actually, Ford is making a way for you to do that.

The automobile company is going to roll out a new feature on many of its 2010 models that will put some restrictions on what your teen can do on the road. The feature can limit teen drivers to 80 mph, can limit volume on the radio and continuously ding until the driver buckles up. It will all be controlled by the computer chip in the key.

This new feature is called “MyKey,” and it will be standard on a certain number of models of cars beginning 2010, and will later spread into all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

Again, this is something that puts restrictions on kids that their parents never had to deal with. I know it sounds like a good idea, but I really wonder just how much it will affect teen driving.

Limiting a teen driver to 80 mph doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. On the interstate, they are still speeding 10 mph over the limit. Granted, I think you probably need some leeway there because there are times when you need to go that fast to avoid a situation.

However, that still means that teen drivers can go more than 20 mph over the speed limit on back roads. Most of the worst teen crashes at least here occur on back roads, which is all but about 26 miles of interstate. So I don’t really see where the speed feature makes a difference.

The buckle-up signal is in most cars already. While it might not ding at you all the time, it still leaves a pesky little red light on the dashboard. A red light always causes me to worry a little.

The final feature might be the best. Keeping the radio volume down in a teen’s car might just be worth the money. If all parents had this feature for their kids’ cars, they you would never have the booming bass sound in the community again – provided that the kid doesn’t change out the radio in the car.

That one feature makes it worth it all.