If you’re the parent of a new driver, Ford’s MyKey lets you set up the family car to be more teen-driver friendly. MyKey lets you limit top speed, deactivate the audio system unless front passengers are buckled up, limit audio volume, block adult content satellite radio channels, prohibit disabling of the traction control system and even get more warning when the fuel tank nears empty.
Starting with the 2012 Ford Explorer, MyKey will also let you block inbound calls and texts to your teen driver’s phone. The “Do Not Disturb” feature is already present on 2011 model year Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC and MyFord Touch, but the automaker will now begin incorporating this feature as part of MyKey on the 2012 Explorer.
When activated and used with a Bluetooth-paired phone, Do Not Disturb automatically routes inbound calls to voicemail, and blocks notifications of text messages. The system still allows drivers to make voice-activated outbound calls, and SYNC 911 Assist can be used in case of emergency.
Ford has long supported federal and state-level bans on texting while driving, and its SYNC and MyFord Touch systems help to minimize driver distractions by automating functions with voice commands. Blocking inbound calls and texts is another way that the automaker hopes will ensure new driver safety.
Do Not Disturb isn’t foolproof, since it required the used of a Bluetooth-paired phone, which teens can easily defeat. Still, it gives parents just a bit more peace of mind, and (in theory at least) will help new drivers rack up time behind the wheel with minimal distractions.