Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Roddy Graham's blog: 21 May 2010 - Driving restrictions for teenagers
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Roddy Graham's blog: 21 May 2010 - Driving restrictions for teenagers

Date: 21 May 2010

Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo

Recently I came across a great pioneering initiative in the States, which I hope will be introduced over here. Ford Motor Company launched last year MyKey to encourage safer and more environmentally-friendly driving among teenagers. I'm sure the technology has even wider applications, which could have a positive impact on fleet management.

What worries most parents when lending their car to a teenage offspring is that they will drive too fast, corner too quickly and probably play the in-car entertainment too loudly. All of these, and more, can to a degree be controlled via MyKey.

Parents simply programme their spare car key via an online message centre so that they have greater peace of mind when lending their car to their teenage son or daughter. Settings that they can make include limiting top speed to 80mph, programming speed alert chimes at 45, 55 or 65mph, ensuring traction control is always on, setting maximum in-car entertainment volumes to 44 per cent of maximum and earlier low-fuel warning, raised from 50 to 75 miles. And to ensure that they always wear their seat belts, the warning chime can be set to ring constantly and the in-car entertainment set to mute default until the seat belt is worn. There's even a warning display - "Buckle Up to Unmute Radio"!

According to Ford, 75 per cent of parents like the speed-limiting feature, 72 per cent the persistent seat belt reminder and 63 per cent the audio volume limit feature. About half of parents would actually let their teenage offspring use their car more as a result of the MyKey features.

In the same survey conducted for Ford by a Harris Interactive Survey, 67 per cent of teenagers were initially against the features but when advised it would lead to more time behind the wheel only 36 per cent were against the technology.

Any system that promotes safer driving, encourages the wearing of seat belts and reduces in-car distractions has to be worthwhile in my book. And just consider the wider applications for fleet management. Such technology, sensibly applied as part of a company car fleet policy, could help meet duty of care responsibilities and enhance an organisation's corporate social responsibility standing.

I would love to hear from anyone at Ford what their plans are for MyKey in the UK and European market.

- See more on MyKey and other new technologies in the next issue of BusinessCar, published on 1 June.

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