The technology, entitled MyKey, will be launched next year and will give parents the ability to control their children’s access to text messaging and phone calls whilst they are driving.
The device works when the mobile phone’s Bluetooth connectivity is activated and synchronised with the vehicle. When this happens the car’s sound system stops ringtone for messages and phone calls from being received by the phone, thus becoming less of a distraction to drivers.
All phone calls will be automatically transferred to voicemails whilst SMS messages will be received silently to the device.
It is hoped that the new technology will reduce the number of road accidents which are caused by drivers being distracted by electronic devices, such as their phones. Whilst Learners Permit (L) and Provisional (P1) drivers are currently banned from operating a mobile phone in any way whilst driving, full licence holders do not have the same restrictions.
Rule 300 of the Australian Road Rules (for South Australia) states that mobile phone functions can be performed by drivers in certain ways. The creation, sending or reading of text messages remains prohibited when the engine is running but phone calls may still be made and received. The rule states that, for the latter case, the mobile phone handset must either be connected to a hands-free kit or mounted securely within the car.
However, Ford’s new technology has received some criticism. The MyKey technology will only operate if the mobile phone has its Bluetooth functions enabled – meaning that drivers could bypass the system if they chose to.
Despite this, the technology certainly marks a positive step for mobile phone development and the safe use of SMS services, highlighting the need for drivers to ensure they follow safe driving procedures at all times