May
26 - 2011

Teen Drivers: Being Responsible for the Car and Costs

The following is a guest post by Melissa Cameron.

I have certainly been worried about my teen daughter, Rose, learning to drive. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the statistics and facts related to teenagers behind the wheel are frightening.

When I decided to do some research regarding auto insurance quotes I came across some important information concerning the costs and safety of teen drivers in their first year. My daughter, who is about to turn 16 years old, is mature for her age but she can also be impetuous, and she is inexperienced.

I am here to report that even if you are anxiety ridden over having a teenage driver in the house that there is a silver lining. The fact is that there are various positive steps that parents can take to retain control and lessen the chances of your teen driver having an accident or getting into trouble. These actions can also go a long way in saving you money on insurance. We’ve come up with various strategies, including a signed agreement and plans of action, which have given me some peace of mind and save money.

The Letter

Rose and I went to the GEICO website and discovered a range of disturbing facts and statistics concerning teen drivers. I seemed to understand the seriousness of the information that we read through, while she was able to relay a basic appreciation of the facts. Still, I didn’t think she quite comprehended what we read on that page.  Some of the items that I was concerned about included:

  • When it comes to being a safe driver attitude is paramount.
  • As far as teen deaths are concerned, two-thirds occur in vehicles being driven by other teens.
  • Speed is a contributing factor in one-third of teen crashes.

These were just a few of the facts that inspired me to create a Letter of Understanding concerning my daughter’s upcoming foray into the world of teen driving. Sure Rose heard my words when we discussed how serious the issues were related to her driving, but I believed putting some guidelines down on paper and seeing it in black and white would be very powerful and affirming. That would get around all of the phrases such as “I thought you said something else!”

The Letter of Understanding outlined in a very direct fashion expectations related to Rose’s driving and how she could gain more independence in the process. Here are the primary aspects and points of the letter.

  • It is written in a simple and clear manner.
  • The letter puts limits on friends in the car.
  • Rose could not use her cell when driving.
  • She had to obey all rules of the road.
  • We included limits on the amount of time she could drive.
  • She was excluded from driving at night.
  • It was noted that her homework, grades and commitments to family, school and friends would be monitored.
  • If she was able to drive responsibly and gain valuable experience, then restrictions would be lessened.

The Graduated Licensing Program is Good News

I discovered some great news, which was that we live in an area that has a Graduated Licensing Program. I call it, “mom’s peace of mind.” The Graduated Licensing Program, which some find to be severe, puts limits on teen driving for the first year that they hold a license. The program, which has helped to lower the accident rates of teen drivers, has helped to lower the number of teen accidents.

Being Responsible for Her Car

Rose knows that she is lucky to have her own car and that it came to her without cost. Of course, there are various costs associated with an vehicle and part of taking responsibility is paying some of those costs. To that end, Rose has agreed to take a part time job that she’ll use to pay for gas and maintenance expenses. By paying for certain items, she’ll be learning to utilize her money as best she can and to try to keep costs to a minimum.

Your Opinion?

The good news is that I do believe that we have taken some real positive steps towards ensuring that my daughter has support and encouragement in developing good driving habits and solid experience. I also feel as if I now have some control over the situation while Rose, who I love dearly, possesses some freedom. With our plan in place, she should be able to become a responsible driver.

Tell me what you think?  Do you believe that I’ve found a solution? Are you doing anything differently with you teen? I’d love to get some feedback.

Yours in advocating for responsible teenage drivers!

About the Author

Melissa Cameron, who lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Dave, and children, Rose and Matt, works as a successful freelance writer. She loves researching the history of the area and also enjoys the innovative Austin Film Festival each year.  Melissa writes on a range of subjects, from teen life to insurance to film. As a writer, she finds that she learns a wealth of information; just recently she discovered a lot about health insurance by doing a piece on health insurance quotes and coverage. Melissa loves seeing the great, natural beauty of the U.S. Recently she and family ventured to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

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