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 Silver badge

        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 Bronze badge

      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.

    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. 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.

  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. 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.

  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.

    1. 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.

  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.

    1. 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.

      1. Code Monkey


        I don't know if we're spared as a nation or I'm spared individually by choosing not to listen to such guff.

        I suppose the big advantage we Brits have is BBC radio which does have high quality programming (even if not all of it appeals to me).

  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.

    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!

  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. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Not just speed limit... decibels limit, torque limit, acceleration limit...

    Just don't let the kid drive a car (or in this case, anything) with more than 60hp.

    A Volkswagen Beetle (1960) meets all the requirements:

    - It can't wheelspin, without the help of some oil on a smooth pavement. On a rainy day. On a 20 degree slope. You get the point.

    - It can't speed beyond 60 mph even when tailgating a semi-truck (if you ever manage to reach that close).

    - It doesn't have a stereo by factory default, it is an optional. And the optional only worked on AM and short wave.

    - If you are seen in one of those, you are already at a loss on street cred. Permanently.

    - If it must be a Ford, what's the equivalent? a Pinto?

    1. Richard 116
      Thumb Up

      Good point

      In my case a 1965 1200 Deluxe. I'm fairly sure that a top speed of 55-60MPH and a 0-60 time measured in hours made me a much safer driver. Drum brakes all round tended to keep you focused too.

      I really do think that Ford's initiative is a good idea. The radio station thing is a bit silly but I'd go further and restrict young drivers to small, slow, underpowered cars. And unfortunately I really don't think 'better parenting and some trust' cut it when one moment of madness can result in multiple deaths.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge


      "If it must be a Ford, what's the equivalent? a Pinto?"

      Renault Twinkle ^H^H^H^H^H^H Twingo. Quite possibly the worst vehicle I've ever had the misfortune to drive...

      High revving (with no power), vomit inducing suspension, an interior that a cheap Taiwanese 1980s stero knock-off would be ashamed of for some odd reason, a speedo that's so far out of the driver's line of site you're liable to hit something when checking your speed. Not a problem really though as anything faster than 50mph sets off a vomit inducing roll.

      Never been travel sick when driving before :)

      They look awful as well, so very good cars for precious first-borns :)

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Ford Beetle

      Back in the fifties, Ford UK made a car called the Popular. I think it was basically an even-more-crap version of the Ford Prefect, immortalised by Douglas Adams. I doubt if it had a radio (or a heater, for that matter), and although I was too young to drive one, I'd be surpised if it would go as fast as 60mph.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Ford Popular

        The follow on vehicle was a 650cc Ford Angular - sorry, Anglia, immortalised by being one of the first Police PANDA cars.

        This could not go much above 60 either, and radio's were really a luxury add-on, as was sound-proofing of the engine compartment.

        My first car was a second or third hand top-of-the-range 1976 Vauxhall shove-it - sorry, Chevette GLS which had semi-alloy wheels (steel rims, alloy centres), wide(r) tyres, velour seats, sound-proofing, body styling trim and (shock) a heated rear window all as standard, but no radio. A decent stereo radio-cassette was one of the first things I fitted, though, even though I had to dismantle half of the dashboard to get it in and drill a hole for the aerial in the wing.

        It would do 80 downhill with a following wind, though!

    4. BorkedAgain

      Agree with everything except...

      ...the street cred.

      Beetles are *way* cool. I still miss mine...

    5. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      1960s Beetle?

      Rare as hen's teeth and twice as dear- post 70's beetles are a lot faster and much more fun. And they stop too- sometimes facing the right way round. No airbags or anything soft are included, but the radio slot is standard.

      Beetles are seen as cool cars- unlike anything Ford.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Speaking as a first born... younger brother was far more restricted than me. Though he has written off 4 cars in 8 crashes to my faultless record. My parents saw this difference coming long before we started driving.

  14. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    restrictions pha

    If its restricted by the looks of it they can still speed in 20/30/40/50 zones if for instances its set to 70mph.

    I would say shove camera in all new cars but then again whats to stop someone putting a bit of tape over the lense or cutting the power to it.

    1. Wize

      Camera sounds a good idea

      By having one you get a reduced insurance cost. Disconnect it and you insurance is invalid. No mater how careful you are, someone else could smack your car and if the camera isn't working...

  15. finglenark

    I can see this ending badly

    Bing - good morning. Your car's computer system is under the control of the splatmonster virus, which you have activated by exceeding 100mph. ABS is disabled, and the brakes will be locked on next time your speed drops below 95 mph. This will cause you to die. To regain control of your car, transfer $1000 to the following paypal account ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "One might argue" just means "I assert without evidence"

    "One might argue that better parenting and some trust would work as effectively as any technology"

    One might, but one would have to provide some evidence. I know of no such evidence. Mr Ray is simply claiming that what he would prefer to be the case is in fact the case.

  17. Ball boy
    Big Brother

    Good idea

    Lock the radio to only deliver BBC R4 or Classic FM* and you'll avoid any child wanting to borrow the car in the first place. Mind you, how long before said 18 year old works out how to defeat the system? If the popular press are to be believed, kids are more adept at IT than the average parent and I foresee dad being the one who gets locked out! Also: odds on getting locked out while on holiday and Ford having to recover the car to your local dealer to repair it? And the ‘repair’ bill (a.k.a. password reset)? Steller, I would imagine.

    If you're going to control the cars speed, wouldn't it be better to know where it is first? I don't want to be stuck behind someone’s idea of a ‘safe’ 35MPH lockdown when the kiddie takes the car down a dual-carriageway running between two towns** – that’s more likely to cause problems than avoid any.

    * For the non-British readers, BBC R4 is a news and current affairs program. Classic FM is, as you can well imagine, focused on 'real' music - you know, the stuff with tonal range and variations in its volume.

    **Out of town dual-carriageway, out of peak times, usually has traffic running at about 60 MPH

  18. Antony Riley


    There's already a healthy industry growing up around reprogramming the various computerised parts of a car. Any serious boy (or girl) racer is going to have a friend of a friend with access to the required equipment and tools required to disable any artificial limits on speed and radio volume.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Down

      Yes, but.....

      We aren't talking about some twatty boy racer chipping his own 1.2 Corsa to get an extra 5 bhp out of it.

      We are talking about some twatty boy racer borrowing, and thrashing, someone else's wheels. While it is quite likely that the little fuckwit could get "a friend of a friend" to disable the limits, there's a good chance the owner (i.e. Mum or Dad) will find out about it sooner or later and Young Master Snotty will find himself having to buy his own car.

      There is also a fair chance that the "friend of a friend" will completely fuck up his attempts at tampering, resulting in an extremely expensive trip to the Ford dealer, which Snotty will be required to pay for,

  19. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    <Imagines the car-headbanging scene from "Wayne's World" but with "suitable" radio station!> I see a burgeoning market for MyKey hacks looming in the not-too-distant future!

    Personally, I think all young drivers should be forced to start their driving in a Mini, and around the grim streets of London. Not one of those over-hyped and over-weight MINIs, but a proper Leyland jobbie, probably in orange (cheapest colour, IIRC, hides the rust nicely). There's nothing to teach good defensive driving like punting a Mini through the moron-thick highways of our capital, knowing that your motor has virtually zero modern safety features (just primary safety of being small and nippy), and the fear factor of being about a tenth the size of the average London bus. You can fit a stereo, but you won't hear much over the whine of the transmission and the burbling exhaust. You probably would find yourself smiling quite a bit though (in between swearing at the suicidal cabbies). It would be an excellent Darwinistic driving test - spend a year driving a Mini in London, if you can do that and survive then you should be safe driving prospect anywhere!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well said!

      When I learnt to drive I lived out in the sticks, about 10 miles from the London suburbs. My driving instructor insisted we spend at least 70% of the lesson driving in dense, busy edge of city traffic as "Just driving up and down the empty carriageways will make me slightly better-off taking your money, but will teach you nothing about real driving.".

      Bless her she got me through my test first time, a test which was in a busy an edge of London zone at 11am on a Tuesday.

  20. NogginTheNog


    That they're considered mature enough to be in charge of a road vehicle on a public highway, but not to listen to rude words and/or controversial opinions on a radio station.

  21. Max_Normal

    As Ogri once suggested....

    Restrict them to driving a 125cc pink bubble car with a rotating christmas tree on the roof.

    1. hplasm Silver badge


      Where can I get one?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely you can answer me this.

    Why aren't those shock jocks on every terror watch list imaginable? Is this yet more proof that private enterprise is necessarily better than government in every way imaginable?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the point has been missed by many

    The main reason for having this technology is when a proper grown-up lets their kids drive their big car - not when your 17 year old son buys his own motor.

    No parent who is letting their teenage kid drive their expensive, powerful car is going to let the kid get the car chipped or re-programmed or in any way avoid the restrictions the parent chooses to put in place. Sure it may be possible for a clever child to manage to avoid the restrictions but the chances are they will tell their friends who will tell their friends etc. until it gets back to Daddy who will then remove all driving rights.

    If the restrictions are related to insurance conditions then if the kid crashes once they have turned the restrictions off there is a good chance that this will be picked up by the insurers - which means they will refuse to pay out anything other than for third parties (which will be a big bill for Daddy's car repairs) and then the filth will prosecute for driving without insurance.

    In the unlikely but possible situation where the filth stop the car for some tests and discover the terms of the insurance have been breached they have the right to have the car towed and crushed - I imagine the car owner would be less than happy at that prospect.

    So, for driving Daddy's car it seems that bypassing the restrictions is not that simple and very, very risky.

    For their own car it is up to the teenager to do what the fuck they want - any decently quick car will cost a 17 year old lad about £1000 to buy and about £4000 to insure. Even a crappy old 1.2 Corsa / Punto / Fiesta probably cost in excess of £2500 to insure. The Excess (the amount payable by the insured in case of a claim) will probably be over a grand.

    If they get a fault claim this will go up by at least 20% and if they pick up a few they may find it impossible to get insurance at any cost. Likewise of they start picking up speeding fines and points - one SP30 would probably make a small amount of difference but two or three would make insurance very expensive and 4 is an automatic ban.

  24. Rob - Denmark

    So, how long?

    How long before some parent sues Ford because their youngster coudn't get away from someone chasing the car (because of the parental control the parent chose to impose)?

    My(First)Key? Brilliant!

  25. brain_flakes

    Explicit Radio Stations??

    So let me get this straight, a child is given permission to drive a 1 tonne piece of potentially lethal machinery around unsupervised but isn't allowed to listen to "explicit radio stations"?

    1. K. Adams
      Big Brother

      They *aren't* unsupervised...

      ... The computer is watching them.


  26. Anonymous Coward


    The power of the car you drive should be graduated, as in motorbikes.

    For example, first year of passing the test = 60bhp limit

    2nd year = 90bhp limit

    3rd year = 150bhp limit

    4th year = unlimited.

    I know someone (albeit middle aged and relatively sensible) who saved up, passed the test, and bought a 250bhp sports saloon as their first car. :o

    Also, GB should bring in the 'R' plate system, similar to NI and the IoM. Limits new drivers to 45mph for a year.

    The last Ford I had had restrictions on starting half the time. Stalled unless if was given a lot of gas, and radio restrictions (as in 1 speaker worked and the rest had ripped cones due to cheap and nasty speakers).

    1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

      At last

      As someone who got their bike license before their car license I wondered how long before someone would twig to this option. For decades learner biker have been severely restricted on speed/power/street cred in various legislation so it is about time it happened in cars too.

      How about giving the Tin Snail (2CV for the unknowing) a sales surge by making this the only car people can learn to drive in and then once they have passed their test they get to step up to a Smart4Two for a couple of years.

      By the time they can drive a car of their choice the vast majority would have grown out of boy-racer behaviour and if they haven't they just have to go back through the loop again...


  27. dotdavid

    The point?

    Soooo... we trust little Johnny enough to drive around a lethal chunk of metal which could easily cause serious damage to people and property if misused... but we don't want him to listen to naughty words on the car radio? What a ridiculous position to take.

    And can someone explain how limiting the top speed would solve the problem? What if Johnny needs to accelerate quickly above the speed limit *gasp* to avoid an accident, which can happen now and again? I also bet it doesn't stop Johnny doing 60mph in a 30mph zone if he is so inclined.

    I can see the next step being putting location surveillance into the system, so you can make sure little Johnny really is popping out to see gran rather than his good-for-nothing friends, as well as doing the correct speed in the right zones.

    Either you think someone is mature enough to drive a car, and trust them to do it responsibly - or you don't. There shouldn't be this nannying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you need to backup this statement:

      "And can someone explain how limiting the top speed would solve the problem? What if Johnny needs to accelerate quickly above the speed limit *gasp* to avoid an accident, which can happen now and again?"

      Cars accelerate far, far slower from a base of 60+ Mph than they stop - unless you can show some pretty good proof that there is ever a situation where (1) you can accelerate out of trouble from a starting speed of 60 (2) you can do this better than just stopping and (3) an inexperienced driver could be able to make a correct assessment that acceleration is the safest way to go?

      Bear in mind most cars take longer to go from 60-70 than they do to go from 60-0, if you misjudge either stopping or booting it and still hit something you are better hitting it under heavy braking than acceleration and at 60 Mph the road is travelling past you very quickly.

      Now, I am aware there are situations where you can accelerate out of trouble, but I am not able to think of any where you couldn't avoid it just as well (or better) by applying the brake instead. If you know of any I am all ears, but I hope you will forgive me for not holding my breath......

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        How about overtaking?

        Overtaking a long (and hence slow) vehicle in a less-than-perfect situation, you spy someone coming the other way.

        If you only need 5mph more, most cars will do that pretty quickly. Slowing down to duck behind the long vehicle may not be possible in time.

        Yes, this is a situation that you shouldn't get yourself into, but these are inexperienced drivers we're talking about.

    2. BraveOak


      who the hell is johnny? I dont see any mention of names in the article

  28. Big Al

    Think of the... adults!

    If failure to wear a safety belt can cut out the radio, why can't it made to cut out the engine?

    Although of course it might make a contribution to reducing the road traffic fatality statistics...

  29. hopelessness

    Am I odd?

    With fuel being so expensive these days, I drive my 1996 Nissan Almera (funded by myself while at Uni by not drinking every weekend...) slower than most elderly women. So this system wouldn't effect me anyway. I've been a slow sensible driver since I started driving 3 years ago, I'm 21 now.

    Not that I'd ever consider going near a new Ford, or a new anything in fact. I think I'd rather take the 1960 VW Beetle than a 2011 Ford Fiesta!

  30. Chris_B

    Pointless system ?

    Ford are assuming that the beloved first borns are honest enough not to borrow their parents keys.

    If they are sensible enough not to do this then they are probably sensible enough not to need this system in the first place.

    If they are of the boy racer mentality then they can just circumvented the 'system' anyway by using their parents keys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If my children stole my keys

      I would at the very least ban them from using my car until I was so old I needed them to visit me in the old people's home.

      If they also stole my car at the same time I would need some serious reason to not have them prosecuted.

  31. Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the slippery slope: Once we accept limiting technologies in our cars, what is to prevent it being turned on the owners. All it takes is a LoJack/OnStar type system combined with this and there will be no more bombing it up the outside lane on the motorway. I'm off to build myself a Caterham before it's too late...

  32. Alpha Tony

    I am shocked..

    ..That anything that bears the name 'Ford' could ever be associated with such fascist measures.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what you need is

    Holes in the floor near the pedals - nothing like seeing the ground zip past at close quarters to make you reconsider your speed, and doubles as useful drainage when the rain gets in or the heater leaks (again).

    Err, all hypothetical of course.

    1. Richard 116

      Did you... my old Beetle?

  34. Inachu

    I hope this article is true.

    Even when I was young I was not a bore but todays kids are militant on the road.

    I was driving the speed limit on this one stretch of road and came apon a slow moving car and I changed lanes to get around it onto the fast lane.

    When I changed lanes so did they so I moved over to the other lane and they moved over as well to prevent me from passing them and it was 2 teen boys in the car laughing at me.

    If I was a bad man I would have loved to shoot them dead.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      This is when an old car was fun

      I had this years ago, so I carried on faster than them, they swerved back before I drove into them.

      I managed to get the idiot dealt with after other problems with them by a friend with a white company Vauxhall Senator

  35. Graham Marsden

    Well she got her daddy's car...

    ... And she cruised through the hamburger stand now.

    But the car's got MyFord so she can't drive

    More than the speed limit now.

    And she can't have the radio blasting or

    Go cruising just as fast as she wants now

    She can't have fun fun fun

    'Cos Ford's Thinking of The Children Today!

    (With apologies to the Beach Boys)

  36. Juan Inamillion


    In the repair trade it used to be known as 'Fix Or Repair Daily'....


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Found On Roadside Dead ;)

  37. tardigrade

    Ever heard of a Ghetto Blaster?

    Chav's will get around the radio thing easily, with today's equivalent. Probably an iPod 100watt speaker thing.

    Concentrate on banning crappy exhaust kits instead. They are seriously annoying. Why they pay £150+ to replace a regular exhaust with something that sounds like it's broken and is blowing is beyond me. No it doesn't sound like a Ferrari! It sounds like a knackered piece of c**p!

    At least mandate that anyone who fits an exhaust like that has to have a metal spike fitted to the steering wheel as well.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Parts availablity with old cars

      I used to have an old car which was popular in club level motorsport in the 1980s (and also RAC rally), so parts were easy to get - IF they were competion parts.

      I had a nice 2" bore twin box exhaust. Sounded meaty but not over loud.

      Fun for suspension components and engine parts.

      Yes I used to pick on the boy racers in their hot hatches

  38. Juan Inamillion


    You sir, owe me a new keyboard...

  39. Rich 30

    bad idea..?

    This seems like a bad idea to me.

    Limiting the speed sounds good at first, but lets just say little johnny is about to perform an ill judged and poorly timed overtake, the speed limit cutting in at 70mph could be the difference between him living and dying, perhaps just being able to reach 71mph might have been all that was needed to complete the ill-judged ovetake, not smash into the oncoming traffic, and live. Just a thought.

    Obv having certain radio stations banned is a great idea, there's a chance that someone might say something un-christian, or worse pro-muslim! Now that would annoy middle america! Imagine if your 16 year old child heard something like that!

    1. No, I will not fix your computer

      Re: bad idea..?


      In the UK, If there's oncomming traffic then it can only be a maximum of 60Mph speed limit (you need a central reservation/dual carrageway for 70) so, already being 10Mph over the limit *should* be enough to get past safely, after all, if speeding by 10Mph isn't enough*, where do you draw the line? (it would be similar but different in the US, 55/65Mph limits and any lane overtaking)

      *Not forgetting that it's an offence to accelerate whilst being overtaken if the action could prevent a safe overtake, secondly you may even be contributory liable if you were maintaining your speed whilst being overtaken if decelerating could have prevented an accident (yes, if a twat overtakes you with not enough room and you didn't let him in, you could be liable, the thought of someone driving into the back of you is *not* an excuse).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's more your 14 year old hearing very sexually graphic material, but hey don'y let information get in the way of your bigoted views of other countries!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new

    This is nothing new, I'm not sure why it's being reported. One point that seems to be missing is that this is hackable, and the people you are trying to stop are the ones most likely to be able to circumvent it. I've already seen a work around.

    It's not just for kids either, it's growing in the corporate world .Several companies are using this for employees driving company owned vehicles. So anyone driving the company car, this could be a feature coming to you very soon.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you know you're speed-limited, you know you aren't going to try to overtake anything faster than a Batricar, so you're not going to try. And you talk about location tracking and reporting of speeding like it's a bad thing. It's not.

    Your kid might learn to ride a bike at 4, but you wouldn't let them out on a major road with trucks and buses until they're a bit older. But unless they get some practise riding that bike in a safe environment, they're never going to be ready to do it properly on their own when they get older. Same with cars - a speed-limited and speeding-checked car gives them the mobility to do stuff whilst reducing the risk. There's no magic black/white divide between "mature enough" and "not mature enough" - all you've got is a growing maturity, during which time they (hopefully) need progressively less looking-after.

  42. Grease Monkey

    Parental Control

    The best way to stop somebody else driving your car too fast is not to let them drive it. I will expect my son to buy his own car when he wants one and if he has his own car I don't see why I should have any control over it.

    However the real problem here is a misunderstanding of why young people have accidents. Yes some of them are from driving too fast, but the real cause of those and most of the other accidents they have is that of not understanding or at least thinking about the risk involved in what they are doing. We all think we're indestructable when we're seventeen. It doesn't matter whether we're driving a car or riding a push bike we will take risks that more mature people would not and they are not all to do with speed.

    A good example would be the young lad I saw ovetake a tractor this morning. He wasn't breaking the speed limit, but he decided to nip past the slow moving tractor on the approach to a blind crest. Luckilly the car coming the other way was also travelling slowly and disaster was avoided. However parental controls as discussed here would not prevent that sort of manoeuvre

    1. Stu_The_Jock

      Overtaking tractors

      I remember as a "youf" of about 17 living 2 miles outside town in a rural area meant tractors were a problem, and back then they went at a sedade 30mph MAX not the nippy 50 the new generation manage (Certainly over in Norway they can do best part of 80km/h ).

      Heading into town one day for work I got stuck behind a nice chuuggy tractor and decided the gap was big enough to overtake and did. I got SUCH a look from the driver as I sailed past on my pushbike.

      Those were the days.

      Mines the jacket with helmet and cycle gloves.

  43. Penguin herder
    Big Brother

    Unintended consquences

    I'm not big on telling a car how fast it will never go. I am here, un-squashed, because of a burst of speed that I would not have bet my car could produce; thankfully it did.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Radio Chav, broadcasting on a high street near you

    Maybe if they introduced a "We all hate your choice in music" system, I'd like this kind of limiter, extending control beyond parents to the rest of us.

    The ChavWagon, pootling up the road, is pounding some atrocious racket that the average fuddy-duddy (or me) dislikes. We all get/buy some app/add-on that allows us to vote down the racket. Enough votes from those nearby, and the ChavWagon switches to radio 3 for a few minutes. Simples!

  45. Dave 13
    Thumb Up

    Speed ^, Volume v

    How about an option that inversely links radio volume to max speed? Wanna go over 60? No radio to distract you. As a father of 3 teens, this sounds pretty damn good.

  46. BraveOak


    It's not like 30 year olds, or even 40 year olds, have obtained perfection in the art of driving, or constraint behind the wheel. If there's a case for imposing speed caps on the cars of 17 year olds, there is a also case for imposing them on the cars of 40 year olds. Ie everyone.

  47. Mark Jonson

    I'm just waiting for...

    Ford to get sued when the inability to speed (albeit, briefly) above the limit causes a collision. I bet that feature doesn't even make it into the 2013 models.

    What most parents (and apparently one car maker) forget(s), is that often it isn't your child behind the wheel that causes accidents, but some other drunk/high/elderly driver that has no clue what is going on around them, and that the ability to speed can save lives when other people put you in a dangerous driving situation.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    (Sexually) Explicit radio stations

    I think what the Brits are missing about the 'explicit' radio stations, is satellite radio in the US carries several sexually explicit radio stations that could probably be considered similar to some of the premium rate recorded phone lines in the UK.

    Not wanting you're 15 year old (14 in one state!) listening to these is reasonable parenting in my mind - even those they are probably up to way worse on the internet already.

  49. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    I witnessed a situation where the ability to accelerate beyond the speed limit definitely saved someones life.

    It was on the 60MPH section of the A20 coming out of Dover. The driver was level with the front of an artic, which without any warning or indication suddenly decided to pull out. The car driver dropped to 3rd and floored the accelerator, just avoiding being thrown over the armco into the oncoming traffic.

    I was far enough behind to slam on my brakes - didn't stop me getting a rear-end shunt though :(

  50. Andus McCoatover

    Jeez- remember that!

    OK, 1980-ish, but my mate and I were in his Mini. Got to Marble Arch. Bloke practically shat himself, and simply froze. I took over, and put the pedal to the metal (There's not much of either in an 850 mini, long gearstick, pusbutton-on-the-floor starter) and let all the taxis avoid us.

    Reasoning? If they prang theirs, they lose shedloads of money + tips. If I pranged ours, we'd lost about £50.

  51. Richard Porter
    Gates Horns

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

    No. make him build his own kit car and get it IVA'd. Then he might drive it with a bit more care as well as getting cheaper insurance.

  52. bubba-bear

    Explicit satellite radio

    I don't understand the restriction on "explicit" satellite radio channels (which is a subscription service) First, I think that the restriction is totally stupid. Second, if the parents want to, they can get the explicit channels blocked by calling the satellite provider -- there is far less chance of hacking that control. In addition, I believe that Howard Stern (the "shock jock") is a premium channel-- just don't buy the channel.

  53. Stratman


    Never mind the cyber-nannying, if you want to make drivers behave responsibly do away with seatbelts and airbags, just have a big spike sticking out of the steering column.

  54. HaplessPoet

    Meet the Parents: Little Fockers

    enough said

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