Blog: Does “Dashboard Dad” Hold The Key?

From January 1st anyone buying a new Ford Fiesta – one of the UK’s most popular cars – will have the option of getting Ford’s innovative myKey system with it. The myKey system, dubbed “Dashboard Dad” by some, works by adjusting vehicle settings following the recognition of different ignition keys. Ford claims that the myKey system “allows parents to tailor a vehicle performance and driver environment to suit individual users”, giving parents greater control of the way in which their children use a shared vehicle or a car that has been bought for them. What kind of “tailoring” can be managed by the myKey system? First and foremost it is possible to limit the maximum speed of the car. Slightly bizarrely perhaps, this is set to 80mph – above the UK speed limit. It’s also possible to alert drivers when they accelerate through different speeds, for example through 40, 50, 60 or 70 mph. It can also limit the maximum volume of an in-car audio system and disable the stereo until seat belts are buckled. Finally the myKey system can be used to essentially lock normally adjustable safety features such as stability and traction control. What’s behind the myKey system? Well Ford clearly recognise that the Fiesta (other Ford models will get the option later) is a popular car for parents to buy for or share with their (very lucky!) children. Ford’s own research indicates that 46% of parents with children between 17 and 20 said that speeding is their number one worry when their children are driving. And last year in the UK, drivers between 17 and 19 were involved in some 12,000 motor accidents, with half of these resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Ford’s launch of the myKey system in the UK (it’s already available on US models) is an attempt to help to improve young driver safety and should be welcomed – as it has been by road safety organisations. It pre-empts possible action by the government to introduce legal measures to improve road safety for younger motorists. So myKey is a great road safety initiative. From a car insurance point of view the system could, in time, lead to insurers offering reduced premiums for younger drivers who use the myKey system. So potential financial benefits too. Coupled with the growing number of telematics insurance (or black box insurance) products on offer, this is another example of technology potentially helping to reduce the cost of young drivers car insurance. We’d like to know what you think of Ford’s “Dashboard Dad” system – especially if you’re a parent or a young driver sharing your parent’s car!
03/12/2012 14:33:42 Eren

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