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Ford’s Mykey Teen-Safety Technology Honored, Praised For Potential Life-Saving Benefits


* Ford’s new MyKeyTM named first on AAA’s list of top-10 picks for new auto technologies
* MyKey technology honored at New York International Auto Show’s World Traffic Safety Symposium
* MyKey allows parents to set top speed and audio limits to help encourage their teen-agers to drive safer, more fuel efficiently, and increase safety belt usage
* World Traffic Safety Symposium previously honored Ford for two other teen driver safety-related programs including Driving Skills for Life and VIRTTEX driver distraction research

DEARBORN, Mich., Ford Motor Company’s MyKeyTM teen-safety driving technology topped the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) top technology picks for new vehicles and earned the 2009 Traffic Safety Achievement Award from a panel of judges at the New York International Auto Show’s World Traffic Safety Symposium.

MyKey, which soon will become standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. The new technology also can completely mute the audio system if front occupants are not belted. The feature is designed to help parents encourage their teen-agers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, and increase safety belt usage.

MyKey “may hold potential to increase the safety of teen drivers,” wrote W. E. Van Tassel, Ph.D., with AAA National Driver Training Programs, in a recent article for The Chronicle of ADTSEA.

“The 2009 World Traffic Safety Symposium is tackling the issue of safer teen driving,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the New York International Auto Show. “As Ford’s new MyKey safety technology will help encourage teens to drive safer and use their seat belts, we’re proud to present Ford with this award.”

The same group previously honored Ford’s Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program – which teaches teens advanced driving skills – with the 2007 Traffic Safety Achievement Award for Community Service. Two years earlier, the Symposium honored Ford for its exclusive VIRTTEX driving simulator, which has been used almost exclusively for safety research, including an extensive teen study earlier this decade.

The judges represented the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Automobile Association of America Foundation for Traffic Safety, National Road Safety Foundation and New York Police Department Traffic Safety Division.

Tackling Teen Driving Risks
These efforts, combined with Ford’s hands-free, voice-activated SYNC connectivity technology, are part of Ford’s holistic approach to helping teens – the riskiest on the roads – drive more safely and reduce risks that lead to many of the approximately 6,000 U.S. auto fatalities each year.

“Ford’s commitment to providing motorists of all ages with a safe and satisfying driving experience extends beyond our introduction of industry-leading crash protection and crash avoidance systems,” said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “New technologies such as MyKey build on that commitment by encouraging responsible driving behavior.”

MyKey’s Safety Appeal
MyKey can help promote safer driving, particularly among teens, by encouraging safety belt use, limiting speed and reducing distractions. In addition to the more aggressive belt monitor with audio mute as well as top speed and audio volume limits, MyKey provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour to encourage driving within posted speed limits.

About 50 percent of those who would consider purchasing MyKey also said they would allow their children to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with the technology. The added seat time can help teens build driving skills in a more controlled setting, complementing graduated licensing laws that give young motorists more driving freedom as they get older.

According to NHTSA, teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes – and less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.

Driving Skills for Life
Since 2003, DSFL has reached hundreds of thousands of teens online and thousands more in hands-on events nationwide. Ford translated extensive research from its advanced driving simulator studies into the program, which teaches the necessary skills that could help prevent up to 60 percent of teen accidents.

Ford researchers identified the lack of four key skills for teen drivers – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, and speed management. At Ford’s DSFL events, students learn those critical skills in hands-on driver training by some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors.

In SYNC with Safe Driving
Ford also is helping to reduce potential driver distraction with SYNC, its award-winning in-car communications and entertainment system. A recent study shows that using SYNC’s hands-free, voice-activated use of MP3 players and Bluetooth-enabled phones significantly reduces the level of driver distraction compared with manual operations of those non-integrated devices.

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s wholly owned automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit


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