Tim's Take: Controlling teen driving through technology

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The same generation that railed against Big Brother could soon find itself acting as Big Mother, riding shotgun with their teenagers.

With MyKey Technology, which will be available in some Ford vehicles later this year, you can do more than keep an eye on your kids. You can keep a hand on the wheel whenever your kids are driving.

"That's probably when parents feel most vulnerable in terms of teen safety,'' said Major Terry Enoch of the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.

A potential answer to that is currently being demonstrated to law enforcement and the media.

Although when I took a MyKey-equipped car for a test drive, standard traffic laws were not waived in the name of research.

"I'll tell you what I tell my son when he gets behind the wheel,'' said Major Enoch. "Adhere to the traffic laws in the State of Georgia and Chatham County.''

And if that sounds like it's no fun, that's kind of the point.

Because the subject has caused as many family arguments as any other, but now MyKey gives parents the final word on their kids' driving. It also allows a little backseat driving without ever having to leave home.

So if you're teen tries to rock out to loud music, you've already pulled the reigns in by limiting the car radio's output. If he's tempted to speed, you've got an invisible foot on the brake through a preprogrammed setting.

And if he takes off his seat belt for a minute, a chime sounds and the radio shuts off until the belt is buckled again.

"I think this technology is a step in the right direction,'' said Major Enoch. "Anything we can do to make our vehicles more safe puts the focus back on safety on our highways and that's what this whole effort it about.''

Of course, the irony is that many of today's parents come from a generation that got so worked up about having their behavior monitored and now they're going way beyond that to controlling their kids.

But they can take comfort in believing MyKey is really for their protection. Which is what they said about big brother, isn't it?

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