It sounds like the answer to parents who are worried about lending their car to their precious teenage children.
An electronic system will be fitted to new Ford cars from next year that will force young motorists to drive safely when they ask to borrow the family motor.
The system will limit the car’s top speed and even stop teenagers turning the volume up too high on the stereo.
The safety feature, which has already been dubbed ‘teenage mode’, springs into action when the young driver uses a special second car key.
Officially known as MyKey, the system is programmable by parents, allowing them to set a top speed of between 45mph and 80mph.
Once the car reaches a certain speed, a chime sounds, and the car plays a spoken warning to slow down.
The system also features an early warning when the driver is running low on fuel.
Another safety feature is ‘emergency assistance’ in the event of a crash serious enough to trigger the passenger airbags.
If there is such a collision, the car’s on-board computer will send a message through the mobile phone network to the emergency services. The message will include the co-ordinates of the accident.
It is not only ‘boy racers’ whose antics will be curtailed, but teenage girl drivers, too.
Ford cites research which shows that while excessive speed is the cause of 30 per cent of accidents involving young male drivers, it is also the cause of 21 per cent of accidents with young female drivers.
Paul Mascarena, Ford’s chief technical officer, said of MyKey: ‘It’s targeted at young drivers, though it is useful for fleet operators as well.’
The car maker said that it had feared the ‘electronic spy’ would prove unpopular with teenagers, but initial trials in America have proven otherwise.
It was found that parents were more willing to lend their car with the safety feature operating.
‘We were concerned that children would see it as Big Brother watching them,’ said Mr Mascarena. ‘But they are now getting more access to the vehicle. And from a parental perspective, there is peace of mind.’
Ford said research shows that 46 per cent of parents say speeding is their biggest worry while their offspring are driving, followed by talking on mobile phones while at the wheel (37 per cent) and their child being distracted by others in the car (35 per cent).
Matthew Avery, crash and safety research manager at safety testing company Thatcham, said it was possible insurance companies might reduce young drivers’ insurance premiums for using the system.
MyKey will be introduced into all new Fords in Britain next year.
The move was welcomed by a spokesman for London Ambulance Service, who said: ‘We work closely with the other emergency services to try to educate young people about the dangers of speeding.
‘It can sometimes come down to peer pressure, but the results can be devastating for themselves, their passengers, families and other road users.
‘Our staff can also be affected by responding to calls where youngsters have been killed or seriously injured and it is even sadder because a lot of the most serious incidents could be avoided.”
Via Daily Mail