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Ford announced today a new technology called MyKey that will be standard on the 2010 Focus Coupe and quickly spread to the rest of the Blue Oval's lineup. MyKey can do three basic things: allow parents to limit a vehicle's top speed to 80 mph and/or the stereo's volume up to 44% of its max, and set a sustaining chime if the seatbelts aren't being used. Clearly targeted towards worry wart parents, the MyKey system is meant to keep teens safe despite their protestation that a system like this curtails their kiddy freedoms. Ford did some polling and found that 67% of teens didn't like the idea, though that number fell to 36% if the MyKey system led to parents letting the kids use the car more.

The MyKey system uses off-the-shelf technology from within Ford, particularly the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, to identify which keys are in the ignition and therefore which driving mode to enable. It's certainly feels a lot like Big Brother, but we suppose parents have the right to play Big Bro' when the safety of their children is at stake.

Other things the MyKey system can do is permanently enable the traction control system and set chimes for when the car reaches 45, 55 or 65 mph. This technology will likely make the Ford Focus Coupe a popular choice for both parents and teens, the latter of which may be appeased by the SNYC system that's also available in these cars.

[Source: Ford]



  • MyKey™, another innovation from the company that introduced SYNC®, allows parents to limit speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Harris Interactive Survey shows that many parents would allow teens to drive more often if their vehicle was equipped with MyKey – helping young drivers build road safety experience.
  • MyKey will debut as a standard feature next year on the 2010 Focus coupe and will quickly be offered on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 6, 2008 – Ford Motor Company is introducing an innovative new technology – called MyKey – designed to help parents encourage their teen-agers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, and increase safety-belt usage.

Ford's MyKey feature – which debuts next year as standard equipment on the 2010 Focus coupe and will quickly become standard on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models – allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour.

"Ford not only offers industry-leading crash protection and crash avoidance systems, we also are committed to developing new technologies such as MyKey that encourage safer driving behavior," said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "MyKey can help promote safer driving, particularly among teens, by encouraging seat belt use, limiting speed and reducing distractions."

MyKey is appealing to parents of teen drivers, including 75 percent who like the speed-limiting feature, 72 percent who like the more insistent safety-belt reminder, and 63 percent who like the audio limit feature, according to a recent Harris Interactive Survey conducted for Ford.

About 50 percent of those who would consider purchasing MyKey also said they would allow their children to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with the new technology. The added seat time can help teens build their driving skills in a more controlled setting, complementing graduated licensing laws that give young drivers more driving freedom as they get older.

More than half of parents surveyed worry that their teen-age children are driving at unsafe speeds, talking on hand-held cell phones or texting while driving, or otherwise driving distracted. More than a third of parents also are concerned that their teens do not always buckle their safety belts when driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes. Teens also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.

Teens surveyed by Harris said they are largely open to MyKey if it means they will have more freedom to drive. Initially, 67 percent of teens polled said they wouldn't want MyKey features. However, if using MyKey would lead to greater driving privileges, only 36 percent would object to the technology.

"We've upgraded an existing, proven technology – the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system – with some simple software upgrades to develop a new unique feature that we believe will resonate with customers," said Jim Buczkowski, director, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering – the same team that developed SYNC in partnership with Microsoft. "We also developed MyKey's functions in such a way to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines, giving us the ability to go mass market in the spirit of other Ford innovations such as safety belts, stability control and SYNC."

Holding the key

The MyKey system allows the parent to program any key through the vehicle message center, which updates the SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system. When the MyKey is inserted into the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip in the key and immediately identifies the MyKey code, which enables certain default driving modes, including:

Persistent Ford Beltminder™ with audio mute. Ford's Beltminder system typically provides a six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Beltminder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled. A message center display "Buckle Up to Unmute Radio" also appears on the instrument cluster.

Earlier low-fuel warning. Rather than a warning at 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides a warning at 75 miles to empty.

If MyKey is in the ignition, features such as Park Aid and BLISTM (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert cannot be deactivated.
Additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle's message center setup menu:

  • Limited top speed of 80 mph
  • Traction control system, that limits tire spin, cannot be deactivated
  • Limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume
  • A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph
Using MyKey to teach teens to avoid speeding can provide an added benefit – improved fuel economy. Ford research shows that driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph consumes 15 percent less fuel, and mastering other eco-driving habits such as avoiding jackrabbit starts and excessive idling can help improve fuel economy by more than 50 percent.

Safety is the key

MyKey is just one way that Ford is helping teens drive more safely. Ford Motor Company Fund's Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program helps young motorists master four critical driving skills – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, and speed management – that help address the majority of dangerous driving conditions. More than 3,000 teens have participated in DSFL ride-and-drive events. And more than 500,000 people have used the training course since 2003 on www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago

      It would be a good feature for cabs too considering the way many cab drivers drive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I always wondered why more cars never had this option of limiting speed. It also wouldn't be hard to limit the revs and power for longer engine life and limiting the abuse that teenagers can do to it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe insurance co.s will require it in the fututre.
      Ah the fututre,Dow dow 500 pts. yikes.
      • 2 Years Ago
      iOK,seat belt and gas warning are cool,, but what on gods green earth dose the volume of the radio have to do with anything/ thats just a control freak thing.. I drive my parents cars without that device .. one being a an 09 porsche 911S the other being a merc merauder.. i have not had one citation in my 2 and a half years of driving .. i respect them and the ways they expect their cars to be driven.. i have been raised to do the right thing and to drive safely and to know when speed is needed and when its not and they trust me. any parent that hands the keys to their car to anybody including their own kid that they dont trust is a fool... no device on this planet can make a kid trustworthy and honest if they are not... the only way to be shure is to trust them and know they arent going to lie to you !!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Me personally i think this is a great idea.

      For those of you that question limiting the stereo output.
      Couple good reasons for it: A. So you kid doesn't blow out the speakers or factory amps, considering kids prefer max volume over max clarity.
      B. So they don't blast the stereo so loud that they don't hear problems with the car, flat tires, police and ambulance sirens, and horns from other drivers.

      For the guy on page 1 that said you need to get out of the way of 18 wheelers barreling down on you.
      80mph is more than most 18 wheelers would ever drive, especially in a merge.
      And since the car in question here is a focus, not sure how much extra juice you are going to get at 80mph by flooring it anyway.

      I really think the idea is brilliant, and gps assisted speed limited as suggested above, would make it perfect.
      Even better if you owned a mustang and let your kid drive it. Ya, bad idea to let your kid drive your mustang, but it this limiter makes a bad decision a little less bad.

      BTW, some kids do what they like behind the wheel, regardless of parental teaching.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dont you mean SYNC
      But i think its a very good idea.
      When you cant drive faster than 85 when youre beginning driving it wears off on you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      To the people that support speed limiters: Why are you here? This is a car blog. We love cars. Fast cars, pretty cars, ugly cars, new cars, crappy cars, car racing, the list goes on. Putting a limiter on a car is absolute blasphemy. How can you consider yourself a car lover and advocate a mandatory speed limiter?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe we love our kids and technology too?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Love of cars is totally different from the love of BREAKING THE LAW. You do realize that's what you do, right???
        Like I said before, you want to race on a track, that should involve special training and a special key that get used only at the track.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because, unlike you, we read articles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Being 21 I know how teenagers drive because I still do from time to time, but I like to think I drive responsibly. I was taught how to drive around a farm at age 9 and when I got a learners permit I was taught how to drive by my parents. In Iowa they require you to take drivers education if you want your license before 18 and I took that aswell. I feel that this feature is just taking the responsibility of teaching kids how to drive responibly. My first vehicle was a 79 GMC sierra with a V8. I drove it and I drove it hard but I learned how to drive responsibly in it. This feature takes out distractions that they need to learn. Teenagers need to learn to watch the fuel gage, watch the speed-o-meter, and to put on a seatbelt by themselves without having dings and flashing lights remind them. People do not learn by having things tell them, they learn by forgetting and then remembering.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is what's wrong with America;


      First off, you're merging on the highway; YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. If you're so worried about your kids safety, teach them the proper way of how to drive (such as yielding to oncoming traffic when merging on a highway). Inexperienced drivers should never be in a rush when driving, and parents that are complaining about this speed limiter are just lame.

      • 6 Years Ago
      For every technology there is someone who can figure out how to bypass it. It will help, but within a few weeks of being out I bet you there are blogs of how to hack it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Aside from the stereo volume restrictions, shouldn't the same rules be applied to the parents as well? Like maximum speed restrictions (I doubt people take Focuses to a race track), or seat belt alerts?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What if your kid had to rush someone to the hospital?? There is no reason for YOU to speed, that couldn't be applied to your child. In other words, there are not that many reason for ALL cars to have max speed limits closer to what's on the roads. Which would probably be 85.
        You want to drag race at a track, that should involve some sort of driver education and special key that can only be used at a track.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not sure where you live but 911 response time is not universal!! And you make the make the assumption that the person will have a cell phone or that you somewhere with a single.....
        • 6 Years Ago
        There are more reasons that a parent would speed than a kid. Imagine an emergency situation where someone had to be rushed to the hospital. Not that I condone reckless driving (especially in a Ford Focus) but I could see that being legit. And what if someone wanted to mod one and take it to the drag strip? 16.87@80.00MPH.

        Speed limiters on normal cars would NOT fly. They wouldn't sell nearly as many.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't really say it is a bad idea and I guess it is pretty unique.
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