The 'Key' to safe teen driving?

HOUSTON It's something that Ford has come out with that can help parents gain some measure of control over a teen's driving when the teen leaves the driveway.

The driving record for American teenagers is not good. According to the Center for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. David O' Connor teaches drivers education and even he worries about handing over the keys.

"I have two teenage sons and once they get that license, they do feel that freedom, but it's hard as a parent to give them complete control because you are not comfortable yet with their decision making skills," he said.

While devices to help control kids in the car have been on the market for years, a new system is being wheeled out by the Ford Motor Company and it may be the key to safe teen driving.

"My Key is a good way for people or parents to keep track of the way someone is driving their car," said Pablo Cantu with Ford.

'My Key' allows parents to set the maximum speed a teenager can drive behind the wheel. It also lets parents set the maximum volume level on the radio. The controls are linked to the key teens are given to drive the family car and it will be available on most Ford models in 2010.

"When you got those younger drivers that are not as experienced, you do not want them blaring the music and going super fast," said Cantu. "You want them to be able to notice their surroundings."

While the 'My Key' technology can give parents a measure of control over their teen driver, O'Connor says there is one easy way to keep kids safe behind the wheel.

"Teenagers, if they are driving alone, are pretty similar to us as far as crash rates," he said. "But when they get friends in the car and at night, that's when they start having all their problems."

The 'My Key' technology can also sync up cell phones to the radio for hands free driving. If you really want to keep your kids safe behind the wheel, experts say teach them to never text while driving.

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