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Moms Talk: Is 16 Too Young to Drive?

What can parents do to safeguard their teens when they take to the road?

My daughter constantly reminds me that her 16th birthday is in December, and that she wants to get her driver's license as soon as humanly possible. She is not unlike most teens across the country who have visions of driving on an open road with a car full of friends, the music blaring from the speakers and the windows down with the wind blowing through their hair.

I always reply by saying, "Good luck with that. Talk to your dad." 

I am leaving any and all driving matters up to him because I already have enough gray hairs and don’t want any part in teaching her how to drive. If he is not up to the task, we will be splitting the cost of driving lessons. 

I remember wanting to get a ride from my friends who were allowed to drive to school, because it seemed much cooler than riding the lame school bus. Plus, the school bus wouldn’t stop at the drive-through for a breakfast sandwich on the way to school.

Teens these days have many more things to distract them from keeping their eyes on the road, sucha as cell phones and iPods, not to mention the dangers of piling tons of friends into their car. 

Pennsylvania lawmakers earlier this month passed legislation to make driving safer for teens. Teen drivers in the Keystone State now have limits on the number of non-family member passengers in a vehicle at a given time. Driving without a seat belt will carry a stiffer penalty for teen drivers, and they are barred from texting while behind the wheel.

bnhasak October 06, 2011 at 01:20 PM
I just had this conversation with my daughter yesterday while sitting in Sewickley bridge traffic on our way to her dance class. She's 8 and is already counting the days to when the minivan keys are hers. I explained to her that it is much better to wait until you are more mature to learn to drive. I explained that I myself didn't learn to drive until I was 20 and a senior in college. I told her how much easier it was to learn at that age when I was more focused and understood how much of a responsibility it was. I tried to tell her that the younger you are the more invincible you feel and the more distracted you are by music, boys, sparkly lights. Her response..."I wish they let people drive when they turned 10". I don't envy you! I at least have time on my side for now.
Nia Stanley October 14, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Thanks for you comment. I was driving to pick her up this evening from a student council meeting and three deer trotted across the road. I shudder to think about kids who are legal to drive having to make those split second stops!

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