PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers nationwide.

It’s an alarming statistic and now, carmakers are introducing technology to help keep young drivers safe.

Learning to drive can be scary for teens and their parents, but there are a lot more distractions nowadays from cell phones to MP3 players.

“If we can limit those distractions and keep the drivers focused on the task at hand, they will be much better drivers,” Scott Higgins from the Ford Motor Company said.

Two years ago, Ford Motor Company first introduced “My Key,” which is technology that allows parents to program certain aspects of the vehicle, using step-by-step instructions in the owner’s manual and an administrator key.

This year, Ford rolled out more enhancements to give parents even more control.

“With the enhanced version of ‘My Key,’ parents now have the option to set speed limits, top speed limits at either 65, 70, 75, or 80 miles per hour. So, they can select what they feel is the appropriate speed for their young driver,” Higgins said.

Besides setting the max speed, parents can also enable, “no belts, no tunes.”

“If the two front seat passengers don’t have their seat belts buckled, the radio is muted,” Higgins said.

In addition, young drivers can receive an earlier low fuel warning and a more persistent seat belt reminder.

Plus, .there is a “do not disturb” feature, which blocks incoming text messages and phone calls from a Bluetooth enabled phone.

“Incoming phone calls are automatically routed to voicemail, so the driver does not have the distraction of the incoming phone calls coming to them while they are driving,” Higgins said.

There are mixed reviews on the technology on various online sites.

One rental car driver was annoyed because he didn’t know the restrictions were set up and some parents argue it takes away from teaching kids to be responsible.

“My Key” is available on all almost all Ford and Lincoln vehicles.


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