New system limits teen drivers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New system limits teen drivers

By Jay Polk - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - If you have a teenager who is driving, then you understand what worry is all about.  But a new system is coming that will help keep some of those gray hairs away.

Being a teenager can be a great experience, but with so many people to see, it can drive teenagers to distraction.

"You're riding around town, you see your friends, you want to turn loose of the steering wheel long enough to wave," said Lt. Terry Kiser of the Tifton Police Department.

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And that's just the beginning. With cell phones so much a part of the teenagers life, yet another distraction has been created. And when the driver is distracted, the results can be devastating.

Lt. Kiser said, "no parent wants to get that call, or wants to go identify their child later on if it comes to that."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drivers aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers. Part of the problem is inexperience on the road.

"They're new drivers. So they're seeing everything for the first time," said Lt. Kiser.

But if you have a teenage driver in your family, and you worry about what's happening when they're behind the wheel, you'll soon be able to do something about it. You'll be able to get a car that actually has two keys; one for you and one for your teenage driver.

If you're technologically challenged, you might think the master key would be fairly difficult to program, but you'd be wrong. It actually isn't that hard.

Once you insert your key in the ignition, it's just a few button pushes and you can control the speed of the car and the radio volume. For parents, getting a car that offers this technology may cost a little more now, but there could be benefits down the road in terms of insurance rates.

According to Joseph Carter of the Ford Motor Comapny, "hopefully the insurance industry will recognize that you're taking proactive steps, that parents are trying to be proactive in reducing accidents."

And, of course, in peace of mind.  That's great news for Lt. Dennis Reese of the Tift County Sheriff's Office.

"I have a 15 year old whose actually about to start driving also. So it makes me feel good, I know that I can rest easily knowing that I can control and set the vehicle that he's driving," he said.

That way, parents can rest a LITTLE more easily when their kids are out at night.

The My Key system will be available on all new Fords beginning with the 2010 model year. You can have it installed for an extra charge. How much the extra charge will be depends on the type of car that you're buying.

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