Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 12:05 UK

Cars set to get parental controls


Footage of the car in action - courtesy

Cars could soon come with parental controls that limit what younger drivers can do with a vehicle.

Developed by Ford, the MyKey system limits a car's top speed, how loud its stereo can be and sounds warnings if seatbelts are not being worn.

Ford will introduce the controls on some US makes of car that are due to debut in 2009 but go on sale in 2010.

The Ford Focus will be the first to have MyKey, but the car maker said it would become a standard feature.

Warning tones

The main element of the MyKey system is to limit the top speed of a car to 80mph.

Ford says other options allow parents to limit the volume on the car stereo and make the car sound a continuous alert if drivers and passengers are not wearing a seatbelt.

Other options will let parents decide if warning tones should sound if a car goes faster than 45, 55 or 65 mph.

The car giant said the system built on the ID chips it already used in car keys to hamper car theft.

"It's making use of existing technology, and through the magic of software, we're able to build features on top of the features we already have," sad Jim Buczkowski, Ford's director of electronic and electrical systems engineering.

Ford's compact version of the Focus, which is due to go on sale in 2010, will be the first to sport MyKey. But a spokesman said it would spread to all cars in the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury range as models are updated.

"Research we've done has shown that speeding is a major factor in teen crashes, especially novice teen drivers," Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told the AP news agency.

"So I think a system that tries to correct the speeding behaviour has the potential to improve safety," she added.

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