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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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Will Ford's New MyKey Save Teens' Lives?

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Ford Motor Co. has revealed its new MyKey which will be standard on most of their 2010 vehicles. The key was developed specifically to enable parents to set limits on certain operations of the vehicle for the beginner teenage drivers.

The vehicles come with an "administrator" key which of course is to be kept by the parents. Using the computer system already on board the vehicle, the administrator key can set limits on maximum vehicle speed, require the use of seat belts and limit the volume on the stereo system. Unfortunately, MyKey is only available on the new cars and the computers in older models cannot be re-programmed for the key.

Specifically MyKey is designed to set the following controls:

•Speed control limits the top speed of the vehicle to 80 mph, and speed-alert chimes will sound at 45, 55 or 65mph, chosen by the administrator.

•"Insistent belt minder" chimes for six seconds until the seat belts are buckled, a feature in most vehicles. But with MyKey, it also mutes the sound system until everyone buckles up.

•Audio control limits the volume of the sound system to 44 percent of its maximum.

•Traction control, which senses lead-foot acceleration and cuts power to spinning wheels, can usually be turned off at the touch of a button. With MyKey, it can’t.

•Low-fuel warnings typically start at 50 miles from an empty tank. With MyKey, the warning starts at 75.