Ford’s MyKey, introduced in 2010, is just the thing that parents of new drivers had been looking for. Using one key as a master, parents can program MyKey-equipped vehicles to limit top speed to 80 miles per hour, reduce the audio volume to 50 percent of maximum and even mute the audio system unless the driver is buckled up. The car’s Bluetooth phone integration is also disabled, discouraging new drivers from dialing friends behind the wheel.
Ford is updating MyKey functionality for 2013, so next year it will allow parents to select one of three maximum top speeds (60, 70 or 80 miles per hour). It will also block satellite radio stations that contain adult content if a parent doesn’t want their impressionable teen listening to Howard Stern, for example.
Feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, so now Ford is pitching the concept of MyKey to insurance companies. If MyKey makes teen drivers safer, it stands to reason that insurance companies could lower premiums of MyKey-equipped vehicles for households with new drivers. That would give Ford a leg up on the competition by presenting them with a legitimate sales argument for households with high-risk drivers.
So far, insurance companies aren’t committing to lower rates, but are monitoring MyKey’s effectiveness in reducing teen driver accident rates. If Ford can prove their case before insurers, it stands to reason that MyKey will qualify as a vehicle safety system, netting owners lower auto insurance premiums.