Ford lets parents limit kids' speed

Many 2010 Fords will let parents limit teen drivers’ speed to 80 mph, using a computer chip in the key. The theory is that 80 is fast enough for a burst of speed to get out of an emergency.

Parents also have the option of programming the teen’s key to limit the audio system’s volume, and to sound continuous alerts if the driver doesn’t wear a seat belt.

This sounds annoying — and popular with parents.

1. wahoofive says:

Few accidents are caused by speeding on the freeway. To the extent that speeding causes crashes (a statistic that’s subject to some manipulation) they’re caused by driving 60mph on a city street or rural highway, which this high-tech solution doesn’t address at all.

(This is not to say it isn’t dangerous to drive 100mph on the freeway; it just doesn’t happen that often.)

Only 12% of what the NHTSA calls “speed-related” fatalities occur on interstates, and I’d guess that the majority of those are truckers or other long-distance tired drivers, not joy-riding teenagers.

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/94speeding.pdf

2. Tom says:

I think wahoofive’s point cannot be overstated… Ford is producing a “solution” that makes them look socially-consciencious but doesn’t solve a real problem.

We see a lot of these “solutions” in education.

3. Rex says:

Few accidents are caused by speeding, period. But of those accidents involving high apeed, they tend to be more fatal.

Speed versus probability of death is a linear curve.

Speed versus probabality of accident is no curve at all. What probability of accident relates to is speed differential, that is, the difference in speed between the vehicles on the same road. It’s a U-shaped curve, with the flat part (lowest incidence of accidents) running about 10 miles/hour above and below the average speed of traffic. Get outside the curve in either direction, i.e., too fast or too slow, and your probability of having an accident curves upwards sharply.