Safety is the number one thing parents consider when their children are riding in a vehicle. From using car seats at infancy and toddler stages to the booster seats they soon grow into, keeping their kids shielded from harm is every parent’s objective. But even after growing beyond the stage of car seats and boosters, parents still long to protect their children as much as they can, even when they are passing off the family car keys to their young teen drivers.
Looking at the statistics of teen crashes and vehicle fatalities involving young drivers, the focus for many parents has turned to keeping their teen drivers safer and it’s no wonder that more and more automakers are building internal safety features specifically aimed at lessening the likelihood of young drivers becoming involved in a fatal accident. These systems vary by manufacturer in their abilities and functions. Let’s take a look at how they break down.
Chevrolet – Teen Driver Technology
Chevy’s Teen Driver Technology is a built-in system that helps parents coach their new drivers, even when they’re not riding along with them. It allows parents to do things such as set speed alerts, limit volume and more. It also brings the industry’s first and only in-vehicle report card which tracks your teen’s driving performance. Features include Buckle to Drive which mutes audio until the front seat occupants are buckled and prevents the driver from shifting out of park for 20 seconds if their sunbelt is not buckled. Parents can also set audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling over a preselected speed as well as limiting the maximum vehicle speed of 85mph and setting a maximum audio volume.
Ford – MyKey
Similar to Chevrolet’s Teen Driver Technology, Ford MyKey allows parents to set speed limits to the vehicle but instead of a preset 85mph, Ford allows parents to limit the vehicle’s top speed at four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55 and 65 mph. Ford also offers a seat belt reminder that mutes audio until front occupants are buckled with the message center displaying “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio” and limits can be set on audio volume to 44% of total volume. Additionally, parents can block Sirius radio stations that are labeled explicit. Driving aids such as Park Aid, Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and Optional AdvanceTrac setting which limits tire spin can’t be deactivated and low fuel warnings alert drivers at 75 miles instead of the standard 50 miles left to empty.
Kia – UVO eServices
With a few models landing on the top 10 Safest Cars For Teens list for having safety features such as forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert depending on which trim package you purchase, it might be surprising to find out their UVO eServices offer additional aids for parents of young drivers. My Car Zone allows parents to set boundaries for location, speed and curfew. If the vehicle is driven past a certain time, boundary limit or speed, parents will get a notification on their phone alerting them. Parking Minder is another feature within UVO that helps drivers navigate back to their vehicle if they’ve forgotten where they’ve parked and allows the user to even set parking meter reminders! Last but certainly not least, with 911 Connect, UVO will attempt to automatically call 911 and send the vehicle’s location to an emergency response agency in the event an airbag is deployed.
Hyundai – Bluelink
Similar to Kia’s UVO system, Hyundai’s Bluelink system can be configured to alert the parent of a teen driver via smartphone app if the car travels out of a specific geographical area, is driven after a set curfew, or exceeds a pre-set speed limit as an optional feature. Hyundai offers this car service complimentary for the first 3 years but can be purchased after that for a fee.
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