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Teen DriverEveryone remembers the excitement they felt after receiving their driver’s license for the first time; however, parents of newly licensed teens don’t always share that same feeling and are often filled with worry. With motor-vehicle fatalities being the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., parents have every reason to feel concerned.

Thankfully, there is one thing teenagers love more than freedom, and that is new technology. Auto manufacturers and mobile app developers are exploring new ways to keep the youngest and least experienced drivers on the road safe. Every year, new high-tech safety measures are released to encourage safer teen driving behavior while easing parents' minds. 

The technology found in cars today is a stark contrast to the passive safety features of past generations that were designed to protect vehicle occupants from further injury after a crash occurred. These days, cars come equipped with advanced safety systems aimed at actively preventing crashes. In some cases, parents even have the ability to track their teen’s driving habits when the teen is driving unsupervised. 

Technology-based safety features are becoming the new normal for cars, like blind-spot assistance, automatic parking and/or braking and electronic stability control. Before long, these safety features will be standard for all automobiles. 

Featured Automobile Driving Technology

Two auto manufacturers in particular that prioritize teen driving safety are Ford and Lincoln. Both companies offer cars equipped with MyKey® technology to help parents encourage their teenagers to drive responsibly. 

With programmable key settings, parents can restrict certain driving modes that promote good habits, such as increasing seat belt use, limiting speeding and keeping the radio at a low volume. MyKey owners are able to program the key through the vehicle’s message center to select a preferred driving setting. 

Any time a programmed key is inserted into the ignition, the system reads its transponder chip and identifies the MyKey code for the driver. Which in turn, activates the pre-selected driving mode settings.  Some of these modes include:

  • Belt-Minder®: provides a six-second reminder chime every 30 seconds and mutes the audio system until the vehicle’s front occupants fasten their safety belts. The message center also displays a warning that reads “Buckle up to unmute radio.”
  • Top speed settings: limit a vehicle’s top speed at four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55, and 65 mph. 
  • Screened radio content: allows you to block all stations labeled as “explicit” by Sirius Satellite Radio. 
  • Earlier low-fuel warning: provides a warning at 75 miles to empty, rather than the standard warning at 50 miles to empty alert on most vehicles.

MyKey functionality varies with certain models. For MyKey settings specific to your vehicle, please refer to your car’s owner's manual.

Safe Driving Apps

We know a new car isn’t always feasible, especially for your new teen driver; fortunately, there are a number of driving safety apps that can help encourage safer driving. Here are a few to consider:

When operating any application or device, remember to always start it before driving to avoid distractions once on the road. Cellphones and driving have always been a dangerous combination. For teens, the risks are even greater. 

Developing Lifelong Safe Driving Habits

The automotive industry’s efforts to bring more standard safety equipment to vehicles and aftermarket solutions that deliver safe driving reporting services are all examples of efforts to make the road a little bit safer for newly licensed drivers, but helping your teen develop lifelong safe driving habits starts with you.

The risk of being in an accident is greatest within the first 24 months of driving, so it is important to stay involved in your teen driver’s learning and development before and after they obtain their license. Always set a good example whenever you’re behind the wheel, utilize today’s safe diving technology and for more teen driving tips, check out The Parent's Supervised Driving Program. By doing so, you can take comfort knowing you’ve done all you can to instill the proper mindset each time your teenage driver climbs behind the wheel.

Farm Bureau Ford and Lincoln Member Benefits

When you’re an active South Carolina Farm Bureau member and you buy a new Ford or Lincoln, you are eligible for a cash bonus. Access your certificate online or see your local authorized dealer for qualifications and complete details. Remember, you are not only eligible for this cash offer but also have access to Ford and Lincoln MyKey® technology installed in every new vehicle.

Not currently a Farm Bureau member? It is easy to join. In addition to the cash bonus offers with Ford and Lincoln, you also gain access to other discounts and benefits available exclusively for Farm Bureau members. To learn more about member benefits, contact your agent.