Ford’s MyKey technology that enables parents to place certain restrictions on young drivers also can help younger drivers resist peer pressure while behind the wheel, according to a leading driver behaviour expert.
MyKey is an industry-first technology that allows parents to programme a key for younger drivers that limits top speed, reduces maximum radio volume, disables radio until seat belts are fastened and prevents deactivation of driver assistance and safety technologies. Cris Burgess, a psychologist and U.K. government advisor, believes MyKey can help young drivers resist pressure to take risks on the road. Essentially, they can “blame” MyKey.
“Young drivers may want to drive safely, but are perhaps less inclined to do so because they feel pressure from their friends or other drivers,” said Burgess, senior lecturer in psychology at Exeter University. “MyKey can remove the influence of personal control on the vehicle’s top speed and maximum volume. That gives young drivers who may feel pressurised to drive in a risky fashion an excuse to drive safely.” Ford MyKey is standard on most new North American Ford vehicles and is now being introduced in Europe with the new Fiesta. Ford plans to roll-out the technology across its European product line-up by 2015. The technology works by recognising different keys for the same car and then adjusting the vehicle settings according to the owner’s requirements.
It enables owners to set the system so:
- The audio system is disabled completely if seatbelts are not used
- Chimes sound at set points between 70-140 km/h to highlight when the vehicle is travelling at higher speeds
- Seatbelt reminders cannot be disabled
- An earlier low-fuel warning is delivered; that aims to reduce the likelihood the driver will run out of fuel
- Safety technologies such as Electronic Stability Control and Active City Stop cannot be deactivated
Burgess, whose comments are today broadcast in a webinar devoted to Ford MyKey, said young men are most prone to pressure from peers to take risks on the road. According to data published by the Department for Transport in the UK, 27 per cent of male drivers aged 17-19 are involved in a road traffic collision within one year of passing their driving test. “Clearly, this is a problem that needs addressing,” added Burgess. “Research has identified a number of elements that characterise crashes involving young drivers. Distraction by mobile technology or in-car entertainment systems, and excessive speed are certainly amongst the major causes and MyKey directly addresses these factors.”
Ford MyKey engineer Hans-Christian Zubert said MyKey gives parents increased peace of mind as their children build up valuable experience. “Passing your driving test is a rite of passage but it’s only the beginning and there is still a lot to learn,” said Zubert. “MyKey means parents can allow their children to enjoy the freedom driving brings with a reduced exposure to risk.”