back to article Ford cars get draconian parental controls

Teenagers will soon find radio shock jocks off the listings, along with loud music, speeding of any kind and wheel spins too – if Dad upgrades to Ford's MyKey system that is. MyKey works with the MyFord Touch system, a standard feature on many US models which can already lock on the traction control and limit the stereo volume …


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  1. P Saunders

    Built In Collaboration With Disney?

    Sounds like driving will become as tame and annoying as that "It's A Small World After All" ride at Disney World.

    1. hplasm Silver badge


      Now in conjucntion with Mary Poppins.

    2. Alpha Tony

      @ Ford/Disney collaberation

      Now there's a dream team if ever I heard one.

      It would surely be more like "It's a pure, white Aryan, Christian world after all"?

    3. Kamal Hashmi

      Best Ride Ever!

      You're mad! Small World is the best ride in Disney with usually a small queue - the mesmeric music means you can doze while the kids are entranced and quiet for a few minutes. Once took the kids round three times for a long rest. Also good at the end to calm them down so can rush them past the shops and into the car.

      Ah. I understand why you don't like it now. You go to Disney for yourself?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Best Ride Ever!

        "....You go to Disney for yourself?" Erm... yes. Especially the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast ride, whenever we go it's a family challenge to see who can get the highest score. I take it your also the type of parent that doesn't play with the kids on the Xbox, Wii or Playstation, because you're too "mature"? Wear a shawl much?

        1. Kamal Hashmi


          No, but I wear a scarf when I watch them play football with their teams.

          They don't have a Wii, or an Xbox. Got them a 2nd hand PS2 a few years ago - but they don't play computer games much.

          The Buzz Lightyear ride is good, but we don't have a competition - it's not much fun me beating my wife or my teenagers beating the younger ones is it? We just have fun.

          Small World is still the one ride I'd buy to have in my back garden if I was rich enough.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good idea on speed limiters

    They should have it as standard for those chavs who drive their loud cars late at night. Permanently restrict them to 20mph.

    1. The Original Ash
      Thumb Down

      Great idea!

      Except that way they'll be spending more time revving the engine outside your house. A car doing 20MPH with a dipped clutch and the accelerator to the floor will make just as much noise.

    2. Greg J Preece

      They're often not going that fast

      Don't want to risk their body kits on an unexpected bump. It just sounds like they are because they replace their exhaust pipe with a drainpipe and then drive everywhere in 2nd gear.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        A dipped clutch?

        In America where most teens have no clue what a manual transmission is they would be confounded, looking at the floor thinking "Three pedals but only two feet"?

        If they really want to stop speeding then take things to the next level, place RFID chips in the roads so the car can know it's maximum allowable velocity at any given time and adjust the governor accordingly. Easier to hide the chips in the roads than in the cars, then maintain a database of allowable speeds. Updates to the the car's road-speed tables can be via the satellite down-link which everyone seems so hell-bent on having in their vehicles anyway.

        The beauty of this plan, as I'm sure all control-freaks/nany-state-proponents will agree, is that it can be implemented in complete secrecy and then simply unleashed on the unsuspecting public who seems to like buying into things such as this; i.e. iTunes, Blue-ray, Intel CPUs that prevent copying HD media, Operating Systems that phone home, etc.

        Hacking cars is going to be SO much fun!

    3. Kurgan

      so that, being loud and slow...

      So thatm being loud AND slow, they will disturb you for a longer time.

    4. Hedley Phillips

      but most of them do...

      drive round at 20mph as it allows more of the "honeys" to see their hot rod of a 1.2 Nova.

    5. Stratman


      If you restrict them to 20mph their 'boom tsk boom tsk' shouty-man soundtrack will be in my vicinity even longer.


      1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        No, you misunderstand

        If they are limited to 20MPH, you have a much better chance of hitting them with the rocket launcher or making that grenade drop perfectly onto the passenger seat when tossed toward the open window.

    6. Alan 6

      That's not what you want

      If you limit them to 20mph then they just take longer to drive past your house.

      Instead make the cars drive at 100mph into the nearest tree...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I guess there is some scope for improvement

        Probably limit the rev counter instead of the speed and make the radio station permanently set to Radio 3 at a set volume and it stays on permanently after 9pm when the car is in use.

    7. Anonymous Coward

      The opposite please!

      Sorry but the quicker the local boy-racers scream off up the bypass and stack it at 75mph, hopefully only taking themselves out of the gene pool, the better!

      We all do stupid things when we're kids, but driving is not a video game. There is no restart option, there is no push A+X to reset when the car gets wedged up the side of the crash barrier, there is only real, innocent bloodshed when things fuck-up.

      Sick of reading stuff in the paper, "Johnny was a good lad, he never did anything wrong, he would never hurt anyone and now his brains are smeared up the A12 to Southend.". Sorry but Johnny didn't spot the 30mph signs, slow down, instead he carried on at 65mph thinking him and his mates, who most likely didn't wear seatbelts, were invincible. Sorry for your loss, but some things in life don't have a second chance to make a fateful mistake.

      Don't get me started on drinking a little and driving home like certain f**king stupid members of my family, NO DRINK IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE! Simple! No, not a half or a snifter! NO DRINK!

      Mobile phones? Arghh......*calm down"...*breath in the love, breath out the hate*....

      1. No, I will not fix your computer

        Re: The opposite please!

        10% of the driving population is 20 or under but make up 12% of the fatal accidents in the UK, I'm not sure that this 2% uplift really justifies the venom in your post.

        Oh, and before you say "statistics can say anything", go to ONS and see the data, while the 21-60 aged drivers are "safer" than 17-20 the 17-20 are significantly "safer" than 61+ who end up causing more deaths (and dying more), it's like people who bang on about how dangerous motorcycles are (6.5% of all accidents) but over 80% are as a result of "other driver, almost exclusively a car driver".

        I suspect that those who have made mistakes in their teens and lived are now better drivers for it, our children that get past the early years, finding their feet as young adults, learning from their mistakes moving on and growing into adults may forget how they learned their lessons but some of us won't.

        Phat exhaust, plastic covered, cap on backwards, chav drivers get up my nose, but I look at them and laugh, they are stupid, noisy, have the innocence and ignorance of youth that I don't have anymore, they will look back and think how stupid they looked (to be replaced by the next generation, which no doubt they will sneer at), I wish they didn't rip around at 1am waking me up, but I don't wish them dead.

        1. Grease Monkey

          Damn Lies etc.

          The problem with all those ONS stats is that even where they do quote incidents per mile they are based on what amount to guesstimates of miles traveled by different sorts of road users.

        2. david wilson

          @No, etc

          >>"the 17-20 are significantly "safer" than 61+ who end up causing more deaths (and dying more),"

          UK car drivers killed in 2009, by age group

          16-19: 79

          20-29: 193

          30-39: 113

          40-49: 95

          50-59: 73

          60-69: 51

          70-79: 53

          80+: 43

          Personally, I'd have thought that the fact that the 60-69 group covers a much wider age range than 16-19 and that more older drivers can probably afford a car than 17-19 year olds probably makes the total distance driven by 60-69 year olds somewhat larger than that driven by teenagers.

          Balanced against that can be a declining distance driven per driver as people age, making the figures for particularly old drivers look better than they might be on a per-mile basis, but the figures don't account for the fact that for a given 'physical severity' of accident, old people are more likely to die than young people. Even for the 60-69 group, that seems to be at least a possible partial factor - get into the older age groups and the death rate becomes much higher as a proportion of either killed and seriously injured or total injury figures, which means that if you're trying to back-calculate accident 'severity' based on death rates, you could make an overestimation in the case of the oldest drivers.

          As for *causing* deaths, proportional to the population, 16-19-year old passengers have vastly higher risks of death per year than older ones, and much of that must come down to being driven by similarly young drivers. As a 16-19-year old, you're actually even more likely to die as a passenger than as a driver (the reverse being true for all other adult age bands), and 150% more likely to die as a passenger than a 20-29-year-old is, who is in turn about 4x more likely to die as a passenger than 30-39-year-olds.

 (table 31)

          >>"it's like people who bang on about how dangerous motorcycles are (6.5% of all accidents) but over 80% are as a result of "other driver, almost exclusively a car driver"."

          That said, as a driver, rider and cyclist, I think that for people on two wheels, there's a possibility of seriously lessening the risk of an accident based on how you ride.

          If you ride a bike as if right of way is all that matters, I suspect you're rather more likely to end up being the victim of another driver's mistakes than if you make a point of being and acting visible, and reacting in anticipation of potential problems.

          Personally, I think there'd be a lot to be said for encouraging people to start off on motorbikes - the ones with some recklessness to get out of their system could do it with less risk to everyone else, and people in general might learn a bit about things like traction in safer ways than losing it in a car on a tree-lined corner, and learn more about looking out for hazards than someone cocooned in a car.

          They might also be a bit more bike-aware when they start driving on four wheels, and I suspect that even older people who've never ridden a bike might suddenly start to see them rather more easily if there's a chance it might be their child on one.

          1. Grease Monkey

            It's an old one, but..

            "I've been driving for over fifty years and I've never had an accident. Seen thousands."

            From which we can of course infer that the driver has caused thousands of accidents.

            The statistics don't, as you say tell anything like the whole story.

            The stats don't tell us (because they don't know) how many miles were travelled in total by all the drivers in each age group. So they don't tell us how many miles were travelled for each fatality. This is a very important figure. If 16 to 19 year olds were travelling many more miles than 20-29 year olds then the stats would npt bear out the need to do something about high fatality rates in young drivers. However the available evidence suggests that drivers below the age of twenty cover many less miles than older drivers.

            Given that 16 year olds are included suggests that motorcycles and mopeds are included. That could have an impact on the way you read the statistics. An awful lot of born again bikers fit into the age range 40-60 and that could be skewing those figures upwards.

            That 79 16-19 year old drivers were killed works out at almost 20 dead drivers per year of age represented in that four year range. The other age ranges cover ten years so if you take the age range and the figure drops to less than half that of the youngest age range.

            Given that mopeds (or light motorcycles or whatever they're called now) are nearly as popular as they were it would be interesting to see what would happen if you removed 16 year old moped riders from the stats.

            It would also be useful to see the whole thing broken down more. 193 drivers in the age range 20-29? But how many of those were in the range 20-24 and how many in 25-29? You would assume there would be more in the lower age range, but you can't make assumptions like that when you're doing good maths.

            There is probably statistical "evidence" that more drivers are killed per year in silver cars than in green cars. This however does not take into account the fact that there are more silver cars than green cars on the road and that more miles are traveled in silver cars than green. So this doesn't show that silver cars should be banned or that drivers of silver cars need more training.

    8. David Kelly 2

      Sometimes the opposite is true

      If I were to set the controls I wouldn't allow the loud radio *below* 70 MPH. The faster they get out of my neighborhood the better.

      1. Grease Monkey


        Living in a rural area may have disadvantages such as slow broadband and no supermarket deliveries, but it has it's advantages too. Such as my not having a clue what you people are talking about.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: Rural

          "....Such as my not having a clue what you people are talking about." Hmmmm. The rural area I grew up in had plenty of farmer's sons banging around the backroads in Escorts, Chevettes and souped-up Minis. Rallying was a weekend activity and "practice" was usually conducted on public roads with obligatory high volumes of accompanying music. Is your "rural location" on Sark maybe?

    9. Anonymous Coward

      Better idea on speed limiters

      For the bass blasting crowd we need to reverse the speed limiter to a minimum of 70mph to get them away from us ASAP. Damn the consequences let 'em crash and burn.

  3. The Original Ash

    Some awesome safety features there

    Won't stop them smashing into a post, resulting in daddy having to downsize to something which doesn't have Nanny Mode installed.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Make him buy his car AND pay for the insurance for it

    Solves most of the problems outright. Especially around here as it would take around a year of carrying newspapers or manning the Sainsbury checkout after hours to pay the car insurance for a 16 y old male on a motor that is physically capable of speeding.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    I rented a Ford (in the US) about a month ago that seemed to have all of these features available - I thought it was odd because I hadn't seen them before and none of them get a mention in my 2010 Explorer.

    I didn't see the radio station lock while scrolling through the options but the maximum speed lock and seat-belt locks were there.

  6. It wasnt me
    Thumb Up

    A good idea

    If it can help get the insurance costs down for new drivers. Which it probably wont, as the insurers now see their exhorbitant premiums as protected income.

  7. Tim #3


    It seems myford touch has already been hacked, so while mummy & daddy think their child is under control, said young adult will be able to make responsible choices, and irresponsible ones too.

    Assuming a parent doesn't know this is hacked, at what age should the control be switched off? 30? Or should it be transferred to the parents' car when they reach retirement?

    1. Tree & Tree = Dirty Tree

      RE: "Make him buy his car AND pay for the insurance for it "

      Joke Alert misplaced.

      This is how it was in my childhood. My banger, bought with my money -my parents made sure I spend a minimum amount of free time and the occasional week or two during holidays earning it myself with carrying newspapers or taking summer jobs. My responsibility - didn't have to ask if I can paint it, strip pit or burn it (although I never would have). And yes, it didn't have the power to speed much, but it was MINE! :-D

      And that is exactly how i will handle I when my youngsters grow to that age. I _maybe_ might sponsor their first banger a bit if I see they make an honest effort, but if I can't trust them by then to be responsible enough not to hurt themselves and others, plus won't have the cool to turn half a blind eye to that little craziness we all were entitled to at that age...

      ... I will have to admit to have utterly failed as a parent and return my parenting permit.

      No extra child restraining technology should be needed here for anyone, really, if they did their job.

      1. BorkedAgain


        I bought, insured and ran my first car myself. Wouldn't have had it any other way. A gorgeous, ancient, right-hand-drive Renault 4. Happy days.

        Not your classic cruising babe-magnet, but it had a certain gallic charm...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      And so it should cost the earthe to insure.

      Being that the age to start driving is 17 in UK (hence your Sainbury's reference).

    3. Wize

      The controls are set by whoever owns the car

      They want to go faster? They save their own money up and buy their own car.

    4. Grease Monkey


      I think you'd have a hard time getting insurance for any sixteen year old to drive a car. Insurers don't generally cover drivers without licences.

  8. Cosmo

    Traction control permanently on?

    What about if you need to drive in snow? Sometimes turning the TC off can make driving in snow easier.

  9. Code Monkey

    Explicit Radio Stations?

    Is there such a thing? There isn't here in the UK anyway (unless you're a very delicate flower and remember John Peel playing records by Bastards in the late 80s).

    That said I'd like one that banned Talksport.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes and no...

    ..agree with the speed (and rev?) limiters, but "explicit" music. C'mon.

    Also it may mean cheaper insurance for the kiddies.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please, someone think of the children!

    Oh... All sounds very sensible, doesn't it? (Lucky me, no one care much for my ears or whether I was speeding dad's Ford.)

    Surely it would be cheaper than a premium Ford to buy one of those cheap, underpowered and seriously uncool cars for the brats. And equally effective safety wise.

    I wonder what radio stations they have in the US - or is it more of a hypocritical, moral thing among US parents?

    1. Ball boy

      Re. yes and no

      Cheaper insurance? C'mon, it won't make a blind bit of difference! You see, if you have the options on then the insurance guys will assume you know 'you' kid needs these things and is thus a danger to everyone on the road - higher premium. If you don't have these options turned on, *you* are clearly a liability to others and your get the idea.

      Insurance going down? Show me any evidence of this happening in the past and I might believe it!

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Explicit radio stations

      I guess, and must admit I have no clue on this subject, the lyrics on "explicit" radio stations are not censured ... so you hear f*ck iso beep.

      Maybe a yank can help?

      As for Ford ... who in their right mind would buy one? I mean, they are crap quality cars ... get a decent European or Japanese car instead!

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        @ Hans 1

        Now I understand The Bombs of Enduring Freedom's censored version of What Time Is Art...

      2. MikeSM

        yank here

        There is definitely no explicit content on terrestrial radio broadcasts in the US(per FCC regs); however satellite broadcasters Sirius and XM have not *yet* completely caved to the morality police and therefore do occasionally play uncensored music and talk shows.

        Beer, because I'm currently enjoying one.

    3. Sandra Greer

      Brat Radio Stations

      We have rap / hiphop / gangsta stations that can be turned up and amplified through ground-pounders (which should also be illegal). So everyone can be treated to obscenity in stereo.

      There is no excuse for cruising while broadcasting, and it is actually illegal. But our cops are all ex-chavs and don't care.

      You don't have to be a parent to wish that cars contained more controls on bad behavior. By adults as well as brats.

    4. Peter H. Coffin

      Yes, Traction control permanently on

      Living as I do in parts of North America that get snow reliably *every year* for 4-5 months at a time, I can assure you, without question, that there is no slippery condition under which TC hinders the ease of properly-controlled driving. Yes, TC will foul up shaving the last tenth of a second off your lap time. Yes, TC will encourage a soft complacency about how well that particular car handles. Yes, it will make Jeremy Clarkson snigger behind his hand at you. Yes, TC will make driving in snow significantly more boring. But it will make it easier and safer to drive in slippery conditions by *always* being attentive and alert to wheelslip when a human (particularly a teen-aged one) will not.

      You, as a grown adult and the owner of the car, need never worry about it and can leave the TC off if you like. You're a fool to do so in snow, but that's your problem.

      1. No, I will not fix your computer
        Thumb Up


        It *may* depend on FWD/RWD/4WD and also the type of traction control, in the case where TC actually retards the wheel with most grip in an effort to slow down assuming that you want to slow the vehicle because one wheel has no traction and you could shortly be out of control, so if it's TC without electonic stability on a front wheel drive car you may find that you cannot get sufficient speed to get up slopes on loose snow from a standing start.

        It's a pretty specific example (and generally I would agree with you), but (I suspect) in North America with snow for 4-5 month of the year you won't generally drive the same type of vehicles as the UK when you have expensive petrol and snow 1 week a year (i.e. SUV vs 2WD compacts).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        MyFord Mondeo

        My Ford Mondeo (front wheel drive) can't make it up a local hill when it's snowy and the traction control is on. It seems to throttle back to the slowest common denominator and just crab around going nowhere quickly. Switch off the TC and you can drive straight up the hill, no worries. I think snowy/icy conditions are why it has a TC switch.

      3. Andus McCoatover

        Like it!

        Some 20-odd years ago my boss bought a 'cozzie' Jep, it was quick, but had no traction control.

        Remember the winter of "the wrong kind of snow"?

        Anyway, we'd just done an exhibition at Wembley (the old one) Stadium, and 4 of us were driving back to Farnborough on That Night.

        Came to the Hammersmith roundabout, snowing like God was really pissed about something, slippy as hell, and said boss tries to get away (it has a slight incline, for our non-british friends) to join the roundabout. No traction whatsoever, we sat there looking like a ship of fools*.

        Mercifully, after a couple of minutes enduring the futility, the passenger got out. She was a Dutch amateur rally driver - swapped places with the boss - and took control.

        It was as if we were driving on a fine summers day. No problem, blasting round the crawlers, home in no time.

        It's not the 'electronics' that stop Mummy's Little Soldier wrapping his life round a tree - it's just better training.

        Which is why, here in the land of the "yötön yö" (nightless night = Finland) you see people screaming round an icy, deserted car park at night. They're just honing their skills, not impressing a non-existant floozy.

        * OK, happened to me once, in Seattle. Gingerly parked in the hotel car park, again with a barely noticeable slope to it. Totally covered in black ice.

        . Parked OK, parking brake on, selected "P", and walked away (took me a minute to walk 20 metres to the lobby) - turmed to see the bloody thing slide - locked wheels - about 50 metres.

    5. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Please, someone think of the children!

      ".....Surely it would be cheaper than a premium Ford to buy one of those cheap, underpowered and seriously uncool cars for the brats....." Not all US families (or UK ones for that matter) can afford two cars, let alone a third for Junior. Which means most kiddies get their first post-lesson, solo driving experience in a machine completely different to what they learned in. When I was at college, I laughed like a drain when the local snobs let their son graduate from a driving school Ford Fiesta to their supposedly "ubersafe" Volvo estate, only for Junior to wrap it round a tree inside of a week!

    6. Big-nosed Pengie

      Schlock jocks

      Perhaps you in the UK are spared the moronic schlock jocks of US radio - preaching JEEEZZZUZZ and GUNZ - idiots ilke Rush Limbough.

      Thank that gods that you've been spared. But any limit on them is 100% Good Thing AFAIC.


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