If you can't make it better you can laugh at it. ~Erma Bombeck


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Teen driving revolutionized by Ford! (???)

My Girl has finished her driver education course, but is really balking at taking the test to get her learner's permit. It is the strangest thing I've ever seen in a kid! To give her some credit, she and The Boyfriend were T-boned a couple of months ago, which scared her pretty bad. Thank God that's all it did! In a weird way, I'm sort of glad she's in no hurry. I'm not sure I'm ready to unleash her on the motoring public just yet!

Oh, what's that? I forgot to tell you there was a Boyfriend? Ummm.. sorry... Well, there is. And he's 22. And he's one of the best things that has ever happened to her so pick your jaw up off the ground and get over the fact that I am, indeed, allowing my 17-year-old daughter date a 22-year-old college senior. You'd just have to see them together to know how good they are for each other. Besides, that's not what this post is about. Yes, I promise more details in the near future, but for now, on with why I brought up this whole driving/wrecking thing to begin with...

It seems that Ford Motor Company thinks it has come up with the solution all parents have been clamoring for since the first time the first teenager put pedal to metal. They have devised a feature that will let parents set limits for teens. AN 80 MILE AN HOUR LIMIT! Go ahead, pop over there and read the article and then come back. It is short, but fascinating! (Note: if you right-click and select "Open in a new window" you won't lose this post to go read the article. And you know who you are that needs that advice to keep you from accidentally closing the windows and having to log back in because you are afraid to have the computer remember you for fear that someone might hack your computer and hijack your passwords.)

Welcome back!

Ok, so they've got a pretty valid reason for setting the upper limit at 80. I can see where once in a while one might have to accelerate up to 80 to get out of the way of a wreck. IF ONE WAS ALREADY GOING 70+ BEFORE THE INCIDENT HAPPENED!!! And they said that "Just lopping it off at exactly 70 mph was felt to be too limiting." TOO LIMITING???? I THOUGHT THAT LIMITING THEIR SPEED WAS THE WHOLE POINT?!?!?!?! GRRRRR! As far as I'm concerned, 60 is plenty fast enough for the first six months they are on the road alone. There are plenty of surface roads to get from here to anywhere without having to ever get on a freeway.

They go on to say that they are going to make "...use of technology, and through the magic of software, we're able to build features on top of the features we already have." COOL IDEA! Love that anti-theft thing, but how about asking mothers what that new build should look like. As a matter of fact, I won't wait for them to ask. Instead, I am sending the following suggestions in an email to their Public Affairs Department.

According to the article, "In addition to speed limits, MyKey also will limit the volume of the audio system, and it will sound a six-second chime every minute if seat belts are not fastened. The chime sounds for adult drivers, too, but ends after five minutes to avoid annoying adults who adamantly don't want to wear seat belts." (aka IDIOTS)

Really?? You can do all that with a smart key? WHOA NELLY! Then how about programming that sucker to:

-- Allow PARENTS to set the max speed for their child based on when and where they will be driving using a formula of maximum SAFE speed plus 10. (With a maximum of 65 for emergencies only.)

-- Send parents a text message EVERY TIME the speedometer climbs past the maximum safe speed. Better yet, include their GPS location in the message. Might as well know where they were breaking the rules while we are at it!

-- Allow NO radio or sound system of any kind if they go over their parentally-determined speed limit. Yep, that's right -- JUST CUT IT COMPLETELY OFF!

If keys can be smart, then why not seat belts?

-- Come up with weight/size based seat belt alarms. If the weight in the seat is X then it's going to take a minimum of Y amount of belt yardage to surround it. Just buckling it and putting it behind you would trigger the shutdown of the sound system until all seat belts were properly fastened around all those chubby little tummies. And speaking of 'all those' ...

-- How about some butt alarms that count how many kids are in the car. I know here in Texas young drivers are limited on the number of passengers they are allowed to carry. Why not send mom a text message when the butt count exceeds that limit? AND CUT OUT THE RADIO until the butt count is corrected.

And if the keys, belts, and seats can be smart, why not the antennae?

-- Let's go ahead and rig the car so that cell phones don't work from inside it as long as the engine is running. And for safety's sake and Mom's peace of mind, why not add a communication system (including a phone cam!)that can only call three or four parentally programmed numbers: 911, Mom, Dad, and one alternate. How else are you gonna keep them off the phones?

So what I am proposing is what I call:


-- If the speed isn't immediately reduced or the infraction isn't corrected, within 30 seconds, automatically kill the car’s audio system and activate external speakers that blare nursery rhymes like I'm a Little Teapot, It's a Small World, and If you're Happy and You Know It. Or how about some Okie From Muskogee? Better yet, how about THIS. heh heh heh!! How quickly do you think that car could decelerate to 60 or under?? How fast do you think that seatbelt would click or somebody's butt would be booted out the door? Probably not nearly fast enough for the totally humiliated kid in the driver's seat! Definitely not fast enough to keep us parents from going prematurely gray.

It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road. ~Author Unknown

The elderly don't drive that badly; they're just the only ones with time to do the speed limit. ~Jason Love

May all of our children live to be old and slow. Like they think we are.


  1. I LOVE Damama's total musical solution! Brilliant idea!

    So glad they survived that T-boning. First daughter and partner had a bad crunch last December, and I still don't know how they survived. The whole road thing scares me.

  2. I'm glad she is hesitant. So many are so sure of themselves and have a tendancy to think they are immortal. And I'm glad boyfriend is such a good influence on her, too. Oh, and I had the same reaction as you when I read the speed limit they are proposing. I don't even drive that fast. But then again, I'm one of the ones who have time to drive the speed limit. :)Margie

  3. WOOHOO Great idea!!! My oldest just said to me I only have 4 more months til I can go get my permit, what hes forgetting is that MD has mandatory drivers ed and a 3 hour drug and alcohol class and you have to have a PARENT sign to get your license and oh yeah even once he gets a permit/lisence he cant drive after dark til hes 18 and I know the boys father none of thats gonna happen for awhile poor kid but at the same time I am totally ok with it.

  4. Love you ideas! My first thought when I read the 80 speed was "isn't there parts of the country (out in the middle of no where western states) that the speed limit is 70?" But you are right, the parents should be able to be the ones to set the upper limits.

  5. I LOVE your plan! Lets get that printed and sent up to congress right away, I only have 9 years before my oldest will think he should be driving and that's not much time really.

  6. Maybe some other motor companies will be able to use the same technology (or similar) when my kids start driving. I'm not a Ford fan. Fords tend to do crazy things when anyone in my family touches them (yes, just touching a door has odd effects)! Then again, maybe I just won't let my kids drive. ;)

    I chuckled when I read the one teens comment about needing to go over 80 mph to avoid an accident. lol Yep, teens sure do know a lot don't they?

  7. TOO GOOD! I sure hope you really do send that out to ALL the auto makers!!!!
    Glad your girl is doing well, sometimes we need a special reason to "straighten up and
    fly right" ...so to speak.
    Pax, E
    PS loved the list of questions in your last post.

  8. LOL, I've missed you! I'm glad your girl and her boyfriend didn't get hurt. As for the age difference, not that my opinion matters, but it sounds like you've got things well under control!

    I was not allowed to drive on the highway for a year after I got a license. It gave me time to practice before I got up to 65 MPH, which was a good thing. Of course when I did, I remember telling my mom her car shook on the highway to which she responded, "How fast are you going?" Opps. I just ratted myself out!

  9. How scary about the accident. I am glad she is okay. I sent you a long update email yesterday but my IE shut down when I hit sent so I have no clue if you got it or not. LOL Anyway, I will resend it later if you didn't.

    I also nominated you for an award on my blog. Check it out and thank you for being you!

  10. Love your solution! :) Emily has been driving for just over a year now, and it scares me every time she leaves in the car. She is a fairly decent driver, but still....

    So glad to see you posting again, by the way. ;)

  11. Whoa. I would totally buy the car you just described. Why aren't you working as a car designer? Moms everywhere need you.

    So glad daughter is with a good guy - and that age difference is not such a big deal.


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