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Chevy Aims to Aid Parents to Rein in Teen Drivers

Teen Driver helps monitor behavior behind the wheel.

by on Apr.03, 2015

The 2016 Chevy Malibu features Teen Driver, a system that allows parents to monitor and limit their child's driving behavior.

Getting your driver’s license is a rite of passage. But it also brings fear to parents who have to worry about how and where your teen is driving – and who they might be driving with.

There’s good reason to worry. Studies routinely show motor vehicle accidents are the single highest cause of death among teens 16 to 19 who – reports another recent study – are far more likely to be involved in accidents due to distracted driving.

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But with the launch of its new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu sedan, the Detroit maker is offering parents a helping hand to “teach” teens to be better drivers. Think of it as a carrot-and-stick approach, suggests Mary Ann Beebe, the lead engineer behind the Teen Driver technology. (more…)

The Car Key is Becoming an Endangered Species

Keyless systems quickly taking over.

by on Dec.09, 2014

The red key fob unleashes all 707 horsepower in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The black key limits a driver to "just" 500-hp.

Officially, it isn’t a recall, just a technical service bulletin, but whatever General Motors is calling the announcement, dealers have been advised to replace the keys on 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, as well as several other large pickups and SUVs.

Some owners have complained that when they shift gears they can knock the ignition switch out of position – bringing to mind this year’s earlier recall of GM vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches now linked to 38 deaths and 100s of injuries.

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While that has put the spotlight on GM, the maker is just one of several to order recalls in recent years due to key and ignition switch problems – which is adding more momentum to a broad industry shift away from conventional ignition switches to push-button starters.


Parents Finding New Ways to Monitor Teen Drivers

Cameras, Bluetooth combine to keep teens in check.

by on Dec.23, 2013

Teens are easily distracted while driving, but parents have many devices at their disposal to help.

These days its not just Santa wanting to know if kids have been naughty or nice, parents of teenage drivers really want to know as well.

Statistics show that teenage drivers are, well, the worst drivers on the roads. The traffic accident rates for 16- to 19-year old drivers are higher than those for any other age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Young people ages 15 to 24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, but they account for 30% or $19 billion of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (more…)

Ford Reveals New Safety Technologies

Systems alert drowsy drivers, encourage teens to drive safely.

by on Oct.28, 2011

The Ford Explorer will get a new system designed to alert a driver falling asleep behind the wheel.

Ford Motor Co. wants to make sure you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel – something four in 10 Americans admit they have done at one time or another.

A new system designed to alert drowsy drivers is among a number of new safety technologies the maker is planning to bring to market, it revealed during a background briefing.  Other systems include one intended to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up, while another allows parents to ensure young drivers don’t get distracted by phone calls while behind the wheel.

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The new Ford Explorer will be getting a Lane Keeping System that can warn drivers if it detects they are getting too tired to drive. More than 40% of Americans say they have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving, according to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


Ford Hands Radio Control To Parents

MyKey update limits access to adults-only radio.

by on Dec.30, 2010

An updated version of the Ford MyKey will bar young drivers from accessing adults-only radio.

Ford Motor Co. is giving parents the power to censor the music selected by the teen drivers in their household.

The updated MyKey feature has been upgraded to allow parents to block explicit satellite radio programming while their teens are driving. The upgraded version of MyKey will debut as a standard feature late next year on the Ford Taurus and Explorer and will quickly be offered across a variety of Ford and Lincoln models, company officials said.

“Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car,” says Graydon Reitz, director, Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering.

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“Parents obviously like this type of feature, and many teens are okay with it when they hear parents may give them the keys more often if the car comes with a technology such as Ford’s MyKey,” Reitz said.

The radio-blocking feature is specifically targeted at a dozen channels labeled by Sirius Satellite Radio as “explicit.”


A Car Key That Thinks For You

Buick system automatically prevents vehicle lock-outs.

by on Sep.03, 2010

You may not even need car keys in the near future.

Could a new General Motors technology put the carmaker’s OnStar division out of business?

A new “smart” key that will be introduced with the 2011 Buick LaCrosse is designed, among other things, to prevent accidental lock-outs, an unfortunately common occurrence and one of the most common reasons why owners of GM vehicles call OnStar, which can remotely unlock car doors for subscribers.

Automakers have come a long way from the days when a car key was little more than a ground sheet metal blank.  The new GM technology, which uses a small, built-in wireless transmitter, is one of a growing number of systems that build special features into the key.

Many automakers now build in digitally coded resistors or other systems that ensure that the key being used to open a vehicle’s door or start the engine isn’t just an illegal copy.

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Ford last year went a step further, introducing its MyKey system.  The technology allows a parent, for example, to let a teenage child drive the family car – but ensure good driving behavior by setting a limit to the vehicle’s top speed or holding down the audio system’s volume.

There’s no reason a version of the MyKey system couldn’t also be used to limit the behavior of an older driver on a restricted license.

The new GM key, which will debut on the ’11 Buick LaCrosse and other General Motors models, serves a different purpose.