By on September 19, 2018

2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite

Once upon a time, a kid who’d been handed the keys to the family car only stopped accelerating when a stop sign or red light approached, the vehicle ran out of gas, a speed trap appeared in the distance, or they hit the governor.

Today, technology allows parents to pry into their kids’ lives like never before. Moms and dads can harass their offspring remotely with phone calls and text messages, keep tabs on their behavior via social media posts, and even follow their minute-by-minute travels via phone tracker apps. Childhood is dead and parents are the new KGB. With its MyKey system, Ford seized on the modern parent’s growing paranoia and offered these human helicopters the opportunity to lock their crossover into “sedate” mode before tossing junior the keys. Well, fob.

But how many people actually use the feature? As it turns out, plenty. But to use it, they first need to know it exists.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey of 1,500 parents of driving-age teens revealed there’s more than a few people who don’t realize the power they have over their kid’s night out.

By programming the vehicle’s top speed, audio volume limit, and ensuring the system’s Do Not Disturb feature remains operational, parents can be assured that Brayden or Caiden or Bryanna or Ashleigh’s evening more closely resembles Driving Miss Daisy than Days of Thunder. According to the survey, some 57 percent of MyKey-equipped Ford owners know about the feature. However, some 39 percent were clueless. There could be numerous reasons for this, from buyers not doing their homework before the purchase, to an untalkative or unknowledgeable salesperson who didn’t probe into their personal life to help seal that deal.

2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite

MyKey isn’t a new thing. It first appeared in Ford vehicles for the 2010 model year. Interestingly, the majority of respondents who did know about the feature claim they heard about it at the dealership. Ford employees working the floor might do well to tap into potentially profitable parental paranoia (sorry) and mention the peace of mind such a system brings.

Let’s be clear, though — just because parents know about the system, doesn’t mean they use it. Still, a great many do. Of the 57 percent of respondents who were hip to MyKey, 61 percent said they use it and 12 percent said they plan to. Assuming they’re not lying, that’s a 73 percent utilization rate. (The rest claim their kid doesn’t take the car out enough to warrant it, or that they’re sure their little angel would never behave in a reckless manner. Probably true!)

However, factor in the missing 43 percent and the actual utilization rate among parents of teens drops to 34.8 percent. Not as shiny a figure. If Ford can bring the parents who didn’t know MyKey existed on board, and that’s a lot of kids who’ll have to explain to their passengers why they can’t pull alongside Kayleigh’s RAV4 after she blasts past them on the interstate on the way to the party.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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24 Comments on “Nearly Three-quarters of Tech-savvy Ford Owners Don’t Trust Their Kids...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    Rather than limit the top speed, I would rather this system set a lower redline. That would accomplish the same thing while also making me feel more secure when handing a car off to a valet or dealer service department.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I have “My Key” on my Escape, never had any reason to use it. I’m not sure I’m ok with any performance hindering devices on the off chance that something might happen that a little extra speed could have avoided. I couldn’t live with myself

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Ford has had MyKey for years, and GM added Teen Driver Alert to most of its cars around 2017, which includes many of these same features.

    A family member of mine accidentally activated MyKey on his 2014 Mustang V6 Convertible, to which he only had one key, so he couldn’t reset it. The speed was from that point on electronically limited to 85 MPH, and he pretty much left it that way for the remainder of his ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I was passing a line of cars on a 2-lane hwy today, I’m so glad my car was able to reach 95mph in time to get back into my lane. This is a good example why I don’t like Mykey

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      KSW, your relative is just cheap. I bought a used Ford, came with keys, but not the master key. MyKey had been set. It was all rekeyed at a Ford dealer, which my non-Ford selling dealer was classy about and reimbursed me for. I don’t remember but it wasn’t eye popping expensive. If I had kids I’d definitely use it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        He definitely is. However, when he owned the Mustang, he was an over-the-road truck driver, which means that he (a) was used to driving slowly on the highway, and (b) didn’t even drive the car all that often since he was in his truck most of the time.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Too bad Ford didn’t have this when I was a teenager. It probably would’ve saved a couple of transmissions and thousands of dollars in tires, not to mention a bumper on my Thunderbird and an entire front clip on my Cougar XR7.

    But then I would have never enjoyed the beautiful sensation of taking my personal luxury coupe off-roading on the Jeep trails near our house and wiping out a friend’s neighbor’s mailbox by doing donuts on a suburban street in front of his house. Yeah, no need for these devices.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Yeah… I definitely went way over 100 MPH frequently, Street raced like an idiot, jumped railroad tracks to maximize air, spun out on the highway a few times- Once crossing into opposing traffic, and I have no idea how I’m still alive today.

      Today I’m the lame guy that drives the speed limit with cruise control on to make sure I don’t go over the speed limit.

      Sign me up for My-Key now that I have kids.

      I was originally just thinking of getting my kids a 4 cylinder YJ Jeep because that can’t even get to 80 MPH… but mykey is tempting too.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Too bad Ford didn’t have this when I was a teenager. It probably would’ve saved a couple of transmissions and thousands of dollars in tires, not to mention a bumper on my Thunderbird and an entire front clip on my Cougar XR7.

    But then I would have never enjoyed the beautiful sensation of taking my personal luxury coupe off-roading on the Jeep trails near our house and wiping out a friend’s neighbor’s mailbox by doing donuts on a suburban street in front of his house. Yeah, no need for these devices.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    In my day we had a way to limit a hooligans top speed to 85 mph.

    It was called coefficient of drag and an Iron Duke.

    NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I remember trying to figure out how far above 85 I was by timing how long it took the needle to reappear above the bottom of the gauge bezel and back down to 85 when I got off the gas.

      78 Impala with a horizontal-sweep speedometer.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      My buddy had an iron Duke Camaro that wouldn’t have hit 85 if you dropped it out of the space shuttle.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    My car in high school went 0 to 60 in about 11 seconds and topped out at 83 mph. I nearly flipped it several times anyway.

    In the words of Jeff Goldblum, life finds a way.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    You can be driving a 3-cylinder penalty box with a 4-speed automatic and still end up in the backseat of a patrol car or in the meat wagon, it depends on how stupid you want to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I never got arrested driving my Metro, but yeah, people can.

      It’s a lot less EASY if you can turn on a limited on your 200+HP sedan, with a much better power-weight ratio than my old Metro had, though…

    • 0 avatar
      nvinen

      I’m often tooling along in my massively overpowered car at around about the speed limit and somebody comes zooming past me at about 30 or 40km/h faster than me. More often than not, they’re driving a Yaris or some other tiny car where the crumple zone is their legs and any sudden change in direction is likely to result in a loss of control. You have to wonder what they ar e thinking (or if they are thinking).

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Wait, so they dont use it but they use it, but they dont use it…? And damn you Ford to hell for making available a system that can curb idiot teens and their stupid driving behaviors while making parents feel a little safer about how their kids are driving. DAMN YOU I say!

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    I’m not one for big “gubment” oversight and the like but I honestly see no issue with this feature. I can think back to all the stupid shit my friends and I did in high school in cars and this could have prevented much of it. And hell, I only had an 88hp 4cyl pickup. Sounds like the author still has some lingering mommy issues.

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