I Heard a Scary Statistic Yesterday and I'm Worried

Updated on July 19, 2011
A.H. asks from Canton, OH
48 answers

I heard on a news program yesterday that country wide 7400 teenages die in car accidensts between Memorial Day and Labor Day. My daughter will be 16 on July 18th so that is really scaring me. She has her temps and I will be signing her up for drivers ed but i"m really scared for her to be driving without me. Does anyone have any suggestions on safer driving tips for kids. I will be removing texting from her phone (which she is not happy about)...I thought about taking her phone away but still want her to have it incase of an emergency...not sure what to do?
NO, i dont trust her to text and drive because i know when i'm riding with her, she will try to pick up her phone and see who's texting or calling. So I know when i'm not in the car, she will do it

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So What Happened?

I tell her everthing i'm worried about but like most teenages, i dont know anything. A little over a year ago she could have died in a car accident - a drunk driver running from the cops hit the car she was riding in going like 60mph and and she was thrown from the car like 30ft,,thankfully she landed in the yard across the street instead of on the concrete 2ft away..but according to her that will never happen again. I'm just really afraid of getting that phone call that something has happened/

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answers from Washington DC on

Don't let her get her license. MIne is also 16, has her permit and if for one second I feel she is not making the right choices she doesn't go in August to get her real license. I told her what my expectations are and she has been very good at following them.
Her brother had to wait until he was well over 17 and had a job because he wouldn't follow simple house rules, therefore no license, no phone, no computer.
Driving is an earned priviledge and she has not earned it yet.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Hi, A.. My mom was the same as you..worried to the max when I and my siblings were about to start driving. Since there wasn't texting or cell phones back then...I'm showing my age!..her main concern was that we'd let gobs of kids get in the car & we'd become distracted due to their conversation, noise of the radio, etc. One thing she did which I now think was a great idea, was that the first 3000 miles we drove had to be with only a family member. Can't tell you how many times I offered to drive my sister to her friend's house, drive my mom to the grocery etc..just to get those miles added up. I now realize my mom was brilliant because it took a LONG time for those short trips to add up to 3000 miles. And yes she kept the log book in the car and only SHE could write down the miles :)

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you really think you can't trust her to not text while driving? If so, my tip is make her wait to get her license.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Here are some tips I found on-line:

•Be a Responsible Role Model
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Parents’ driving behavior directly influence the driving actions of their teens. AAA Research has found that, when using the number of collisions and traffic tickets as criteria, the parents of teens involved in crashes were more likely to have poor driving records than the parents of collision-free teens.

•Choose Quality Driving School
Driving can be a risky activity for teens and warrants professional instruction. It's essential for parents to find a driving school with current curricula and professionally trained instructors.

•Practice Makes Better Teen Drivers
Supervised driving sessions with parents can provide teens with opportunities to enhance learning, reinforce proper driving techniques and skills, and receive constructive feedback from the people who care most about their safety and success. AAA offers a parent coaching program called Teaching Your Teens To Drive, to assist parents.

•No Teen Passengers At Night
Teen drivers' chances of crashing increase with each additional teen passenger. Parents need to make sure they know who is driving with their teen at all times. Teen crash rates spike at night and most nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

•Teens Need Sleep
Teens need about nine hours of sleep every night, but many teens fall short due to the combination of early-morning school start times and homework, sports, after-school jobs and other activities. Lack of sleep negatively affects vision, hand-eye coordination, reaction time and judgment.

•Eliminate Distractions
Cell phones and text messaging have rightly gotten significant media and legislative attention as hazardous distractions for teen drivers. 1/3 of states have recently banned cell phone use by new teen drivers. Parents should make it a strict rule in their households, too.

•Create a Contract
A parent-teen driving agreement with rules, conditions, restrictions and consequences of teens’ driving written down in advance establishes driving as a privilege, and not something to be taken lightly. Parents should establish rules and consequences that they and their teens agree upon that extend beyond state laws. If the teen breaks a family driving rule, consequences should be enforced. Proper driving behavior should be encouraged and rewarded with additional liberties.

•Discuss and Review
Parental involvement and communication is critical in the prevention of teen-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. Designate a time each week to address concerns (both parent and teen) and review the teen’s driving performance.

•Make Smart Vehicle Choices
As the family member most likely to crash, a teen should drive the safest vehicle the family owns. Things to consider are vehicle type (sedans are generally safer than sports cars, SUVs and pickup trucks), size (larger vehicles fare better in crashes than smaller vehicles) and safety technology (front and side air bags, anti-lock brakes and stability control systems).

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I ran across something recently that I found very interesting. I dropped my car off at the car wash to be detailed, and the owner gave me a ride home in his car. Well, actually it was his son's car because his was in the shop. He had installed several "big brother" mechanisms in the car because his son is a new driver. For instance, he had a tiny camera installed in the car, and anytime the car goes over the speed limit, the camera records and sends to him (the dad) via e-mail, a video of what's going on inside the car as well as in front of the car - so if there is any teenage funny business happening inside the car and his son starts driving over the speed limit, he will know about it! He told me there's also some fancy Lojack deal in there where he can cut the engine remotely. If he sees his son acting like an idiot behind the wheel - bam! - car shuts down the next time it is turned off, and the teen has to call dad to get it turned back on. It also had an audible alert - for instance, he was going 30 in a 25 zone, and the car said, "Please observe the speed limit." I was blown away - I had no idea this stuff existed. But the guy explained to me that he wants his son to be safe, and even though he can't always be in the car with his son, his son knows dad WILL be watching if he does anything irresponsible. And yet, if he chooses to be responsible, drives under the speed limit, etc, dad is not watching. He has a little freedom, but not TOO much.

It's worth looking into, anyway. I will definitely consider this when my kids are old enough to drive. They are good kids, but like you say, you just never know what they will be tempted to do, and they don't have the experience yet to really know what they can handle when they're driving.

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answers from Washington DC on

Keep her off the road until she can follow the rules. We told the kids that driving was a privilege, not a right. We gave them training (including skid car training) and made them take defensive driving. My SD came home from one class kind of wide eyed when a cop told the kids quite frankly what he sees on the road after people text and drive, etc. I think with any aspect of driving, if she doesn't have the maturity, she doesn't get the privilege. YOU keep her off the road til YOU feel she won't endanger herself or anyone else. You might be the "stupidest mother in the world" according to her, but she's 16. She doesn't know what she doesn't know. I'd rather be a stupid mother than a grieving one.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a 16 yr old daughter and the hardest thing I ever did was let go when she learned to drive.

We live in the Dallas TX area and I am still worried when she goes out. She drives in our area Plano/Allen.

I know she had good driver training with her driving school. Her instructors told me she was responsible and did a great job. In our area, for the first year at least, only 1 other person under 21 can be in the car with her.

NO, I did not take her phone nor did I remove features. That was drilled in their heads at school and she does not text or answer a call NOR DO I when driving.

You model the behavior you want her to learn. One thing we did when our daughter had a permit and was in class, everytime she saw us do something that was against what was in the book (changing lane at wrong time, etc) we paid her $5 for being observant. We had to stop that within a month because she was making too much money off our little mistakes, LOL, BUT she was observant and knew the driving rules to a t.

As for the accident, I can certainly see your worry there. I got a phone call 16 yrs ago that my husband was in a very bad car accident and I still think about that when he drives off every morning. He was almost killed, in intensive care and had an extensive re-hab program. The accident was not his fault.... a road rager on someone else lost control of his car and hit my hubby head on.

You can't let the past keep you from moving forward. Make sure your daughter goes to a good driving school and learns the rules. Also keep in mind that the media hypes everything up to scare people.... it is their job. You can't live your life worrying about all the what if's out there... or you'll just be miserable all the time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

The fact that she acts like nothing can happen (you don't know anything) is proof she's too immature to drive. Tell her that. The law doesn't dictate that she can drive. You do. Unless she lives on her own and bought that car herself to get to and from her own job to support herself, driving is a privilege you give her. I would say to my daughter: "Your cavalier attitude about driving and not respecting me when I point out real threats is proof you aren't mature enough to be trusted. I've been driving 22 years and I know it's dangerous, Defensive, careful, NO PHONE driving is key. If you think that's silly, you can have your own keys when you move out and buy your own car."

For real. Put her in check when she acts like nothing could possibly happen. You need to know she is old enough to understand your fear and be serious about it. Besides that, all you can do is teach her to drive THOROUGHLY WELL, get LOTS of practice, pass all tests with flying colors and mind the rules of safety at all times. We're all in danger on the road. Most likely, nothing will happen to her. I'm not looking forward to my kids getting to be that age to be honest. I was in Germany in high school and the license age was 18, and I wasn't allowed to drive often anyway with no car of my own. I used public transportation. I wish it was like that here.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You have some great suggestions here. Like you, I have teenage daughters. Two great suggestions I heard that I'd like to pass along:
1.) get her in the habit of keeping her phone in the back seat. That way, she has it for emergencies but can't use it while driving or even "just check" to see who's called. Phone goes in the purse. Purse goes in the back. Make her do it even when she's a passenger. You should do the same (NEVER "do as I say but not as I do.")
2.) Sign her up & pay for a defensive driving course. Google one in your area. We found this gave our girls a better sense of "what if..." and the ability to handle road emergencies -- weather, bad/drunk drivers, road hazards, etc.

As with everything with kids, just because they have a strong voice or a strong personality doesn't mean they get to make the rules. Don't be afraid of a hissy fit or name calling or a confrontation. In our house, even though we have an extra car for the kids to use, it's still OUR car -- and they know it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I am just terrified of the driving thing. My kids aren't there yet but I already know I feel just like you - terrified. One thing my mother tells me all the time is you have to trust that you gave your children all the right tools to make good decisions. I know for a fact that I did not make good decisions driving when I was a kid so these words did not help me much, however it is SO true. Your daughter is old enough to drive and you are the mother and can take or give privileges as you see fit.

Here in Colorado, the first year of driving, kids are not allowed to have more than one person in the car with them without an adult, which I think is a great rule (if it were up to me, there wouldn't be anyone in the car with them). As the parent you can set some very strict rules such as, no driving after dark, only one person in the car with you at a time, no texting, no talking, etc. Maybe all you let her do is drive to and from school at first. As she proves herself, you can give more privileges, like taking the car after school to a friends house.

Are you actually giving her a car or is she going to be driving yours? Maybe she earns a car with good behavior and I wouldn't be opposed to spying on her. How else are you going to know if she is breaking the texting rule or sneaking a bunch of friends in the car? Catch her one time, take away a privilege and she will begin to get it.

Her life is far to valuable to not take this seriously and as a teenager she just does not see it. It is up to you to at least teach her how important it is.

As far as the statistics, check out the overall statistics on those weekends and you will see that we are all unsafe. Driving is a risky privilege.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

First of all stop worrying. Trust that you have been a good mom and she listened.
7400 teens die in auto accidents in the US, divide that by 50 states and you have an average of 148 per state. Better odds ---- yes. But you can make statistics say anything and use them for any purpose. Did the news story break down how many of those accidents were the fault of the teen driver? or caused by a drunk driver who hit innocent kids? or anything like that????? Probably not --- news stories now are more about sensational stores to get ratings than about reporting real news.

Be calm and trust in your parenting skills.

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answers from Provo on

I can not stress how important it is not to let your daughter drive with teen passengers. When my daughter was just beginning to drive she even told me how distracting her friends were. They would scream and turn up the radio but fortunately she is a leader and not a follower and she told then if they ever wanted to ride with her then they better stop. I would make her pay for her own insurance. They tend to be a safer driver when they know that they are the ones paying for the privilege. Usually the drivers ed teacher will go over so many things with the students as well as driving. I know my son got a lot from the class.

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answers from Dallas on

One thought is to not let her drive her friends around until she is 18 (or whatever age you want). That is when most of the irresponsible behavior comes along. Teenagers, while wonderful, their brains simply work more like insane people than grown adults (I say that jokingly, but according to my sister, who says she read this somewhere, there are studies that show how the chemicals work in their brains, and it was closer to insane people...).

I think it's a good idea to take away the texting option. You've already witnesses her inability to not look at it when she gets one, so I think it's a good idea to take that feature away. IT'S NOT WORTH THE RISK. If she had shown you she would never look while driving, then I could see trusting her, but you've seen that she will pick up her phone and look. Good idea to take away that feature.

Anyway, that's my only suggestion. Even once she has her full license, she doesn't need to drive friends around until she's older and much more experienced. I suppose some might think that's mean, but think back to when you were a kid. You do things to be "cool" or "rad" or whatever word they use these days (hehe!). You make stupid decisions for the sake of your friends. If you don't let her have that temptation *until she's old enough to be smart* then it's less of a worry.

I'm always worried driving, though. I know of so many people who have died from car accidents! It simply is dangerous and caution needs to be taken.

BTW, I feel the same fear as you! I don't know what I'll do when my kids start driving. I'm tempted to only let them drive in the driveway. Hehe. Just kidding. I'm sure they'll be good drivers. It's just a scary risk considering the end result can be so tragic.


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answers from Portland on

I was listenting to the John Tesh radio show a couple of weeks ago, and they were talking about this topic. He said he had links to different things that parents could buy for the car and there is even a cell phone program that turns off the phone when the car is on. I thought it sounded kinda neat...check it out if you want some resources.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Driving is the most dangerous thing any of us do. Between 40,000 - 50,000 of us die every year in car crashes in this country. It is the largest cause of death for children in the U.S. The statistics don't lie on this one.

You've gotten a lot of good advice already. Seatbelts, no texting/calling, few if any friends in the car for the first year of driving, no driving after dark for the first year of driving. All of these things have been shown to reduce car crashes by teenagers significantly.

It is the amount of constant decision making that makes driving difficult for all of us, but for inexperienced drivers especially. That is why eliminating distractions makes safer young drivers. If there are 2 or 3 friends in the car talking and laughing, those decisions made can be the wrong ones.

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answers from San Antonio on

I'm curious as to why you're removing texting? Is it because you're afraid she *might* text and drive?

Here's my question: do you not trust her or is it the other drivers on the road?

I was in two car accidents before I was 18 and neither of them were my fault. I had a teen friend who was killed at the age of 16 because of a drunk driver who ran a stop sign and t-boned him. The guy worked for the city of Medina (OH).

My point is, anything can happen at any time. Take a deep breath and just keep praying that she is safe.


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answers from Chicago on

She probably doesn't have an iPhone, but if you ever get her one, I hear that there is an app that makes it impossible for her to text and drive.

One of the worst things she can do as a teen driver is have teenage passengers. It is very distracting, and teenagers tend to drive more aggressively when their friends are in the car. Make sure that if she is out and about, you only allow her to have one friend in the car at a time.

And practice, practice, practice. Let her drive you as much as she can. Try short trips in bad weather and at night. If you are a good driver, also make sure she gets plenty of time in the passenger seat while you are driving so she knows about braking before a turn, timing a left turn while watching for oncoming traffic, merging onto a freeway, and changing lanes.

The more time she has behind the wheel, the more confident she will be about her driving. Good luck to you. It is 10 years away for me, but I am already dreading the day I hand the car keys over to my daughter.

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answers from Kansas City on

Speaking as a mom of 4, 3 are grown, 2 out of the house, I understand. But it's not just them. Last weekend a mom and daughter died because of a drunk driver in our area. In fact, I've watched the news reports and when our entire metro, all the outlying small towns are taken into consideration, someone dies nearly every single day and often several people. When I hear of any accident of any time I check to see what kind of vehicle it is and try and figure out where my kids should be. My oldest is 26 years old! The worry will never go away even though I know the Bible says not to worry. I'm working on this.

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answers from San Francisco on

As one mama pointed out, pray about everything and worry about nothing. It's just one of those things you will have to keep praying about.....As a parent, I know, I know, I know....but don't make your kid think you are a crazy person. And don't be giving her all the dead teen statistics because that's just morbid and will not help. Just ask the Lord to bless your child in the "going and coming, in their waking and their sleeping".

Either you trust your teen to drive or you don't. I think texting is a terrible thing and I wouldn't have it on any teen's phone, driving or NOT. So as long as you have a hands free device on the car, you will have to trust her better judgement.

Teens should not be driving other teens around until they are 18 or over.

I also would have her get a part time job and pay for her own insurance BEFORE she set's foot on her on in a car. FUNNY how when the $$ is coming out of one's own pocket...respect seems to kick in.


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answers from Minneapolis on


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answers from Santa Barbara on

A little over a year ago, I could have been killed stopped at a red light when a huge truck plowed into me. Sh*% happens.

Denise had some great ideas! Fortunately, my daughter grew up (she's 18) when texting and cell phone talking isn't like what it was previously for new drivers. She's unusual and a great law abiding person. I practiced with her a lot, she was in a great driver's training program, We tried to be the best role models possible, and she had a provisional license here in CA where she can' have another minor in the car first year. I am very fortunate that she is so responsible, that is why I bought her a new car at 15.5 years (we both drive company cars and she can't drive them). Her phone and iPad are in her purse in the back seat...she just knows they are not permitted.

I had to let my little birdy fly and grow up. I can do my best to teach her well, so far so good. I have to give her the opportunity that this is serious and she needs to do the right thing. So far, so good......2.5 years so far. It's part of growing up in our family.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I can only speak here from my personal experience - as my daughter is only 4 LOL. But when I turned 16, I had taken the usual drivers ed and done the 1 year with someone in the car and had a lot of experience. My mom though was like you and still worried (and back then we didn't even have cell phones or cd players). We lived in a small town and she only allowed me to drive within that area for about 6 months, and we lived about 25 miles from a larger city and after I proved I could handle highways and city driving with someone else in the car she took away those restrictions. It's a mother's instinct to NEVER stop worrying about their child - so you aren't off the mark there. I am now 35 and my mom still worries about everything I do and when I go driving :) I think shutting off texting is a good idea, I have heard that they are making new devices that won't allow you to use a cell phone while the car is turned on, I don't know more than that - but maybe you can look further into it? Good luck, and while I agree with some of the posters on here that 16 is too young, just like everything else it is something that some kids are mature enough to handle at that age, some are not. You are the best judge of whether your daughter can handle it :)

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answers from Houston on

Wow, I can't imagine what it was like to know your daughter was in a car accident. I really think the best thing you can do is pray for her and let it go or not let her get her license until she is older. Once she is in the car she is in control and you will have to trust her. Not to add to your stress or anything but there is another statistic that the majority of all accidents occur 25 miles from your own home so I don't think there is a real answer out there except to train her the best you know how and let her learn, once she is behind the wheel it's her deal. I am already dreading mine being able to drive and my oldest is only 4! I think about prepping him now that he has to be 18 but I drove at 15 and I did fine so I think I will have to let mine drive as well, but it is scary!! Hang in there!

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answers from Richmond on

Scarier statistic: 7 out of 10 drivers on the road after 9PM are drunk (over the legal limit)... Just because that's true, doesn't mean I'm just NOT going to drive after 9PM for fear of getting plowed down by a drunk driver.

Have your daughter take a defensive driving class (and throw the damn phone out the window!! SO not worth it!)... defensive driving teaches you how to make split second decisions to avoid the other bad, crazy drivers out there.

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answers from Lewiston on

What a great question, and many great responses. My kids are all adults now, but I think if your child is mature, and can handle responsibility I would definetly let her get her license at 16 after completing driver's ed. I think the more time she has to drive while still living at home the better prepared she will be when she moves out- to college, apartment, job, etc. While she is home you can still have frequent conversations, and monitor her driving. In some states there is a driver's ed course that teaches students to drive in snow, ice and other hazards.( this is in addition to regular driver's ed). My niece and nephew both benefited from that course. If that had been offered near us, I would have had our kids take it. I also agree NO texting while driving. Good luck. Teenagers are wonderful, and can present many challenges, driving is just one of those challenges.

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answers from Phoenix on

I recommend the chapter on driving in the book entitled "Parenting Teens with Love and Logic."

And place a big placard in the back window: NEW DRIVER for the first 6 months minimum.

Ditto Denise.

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answers from Austin on

You can put limits on when and where she drives. You own the car, you own the keys! When my kids were just starting out, my limits were to school or church activities, running errands (when I asked them to go somewhere), job, lessons (music lessons, etc.), things like that. They had to ask permission to go somewhere, still.... just like when they were younger.

Also, I limited them to OUR TOWN only (kept them out of Austin, etc.) and off the interstate except for a few certain things.

This was for the first 6 months of them having a driver's license. After that, we gradually lifted restrictions, as they got more responsible.

I have 4 kids (youngest is now 19), and only one had problems with accidents... but only the first one was her fault! She was in 3 accidents within 6 months of getting her license... the first was her fault, the second she was riding with her boyfriend and got hit (no one hurt, thankfully), and the third she was able to stop short but got rear-ended. Again, all minor accidents. She had another when she was 18, and that totalled her car (again, she got rear-ended), but since then, she has become a very safe and responsible driver. She will be 25 this summer.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Awesome post Denise P. Is the texting going to be totally gone or is it going to be where if she texts it lands on the bill? 7700 kids in the nation is a very small odd when you consider there are 41,568,965 teens in the US in 2008 (last updated) it's not a huge number. I'm sure teaching and her practicing safe driving habits will greatly increase her chances of no accidents. Honestly, I got in a couple accidents in my teen years. Model good driving. I was an aggressive driver which is not good for a barely driving teen, but my dad was always a very aggressive driver and I picked it up from watching him. You should try to keep teaching her no texting and driving because once she gets her own phone she may put texting back on it (though that is going to be 2 years when she's 18).
Remind her that the day she got hit she didn't think she would get hit either. There's always a chance it can happen. She needs to wear her seatbelt. Wish those smart cars weren't so expensive lol.

If you find that she talks on the phone in the car then get a bluetooth or something so she is at least hands free. A lot of people are able to drive and talk, but if she can't then that will have to be figured out too :)

I agree with A. about her immaturity. I would suggest the book How to talk so teens will listen and listen so teens will talk so you know how to have that talk about her maturity without causing sneakiness or resentment.

Like some situations on here, seatbelts can save them. you can always click it off if the car catches fire or something.

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answers from San Antonio on

When I was getting my license my parents layed down the law. Abosolutly NO friends in the car, I did have a cell phone but it was the old "brick" so no texting. I was only allowed to drive to and from school, dance pratice and work. I was only allowed to drive my dad's big old pick up truck beause if I got hit the chances of me getting seriously hurt were less. Check with the laws in your state about teen drivers, I think here in Texas they are not allowed to drive after certian hours of the day and with no one under the age pf 18 in the car or something like that. Oh and my parents were friends with several police officers here in our small town and they all knew what cars both I and my brother were driving, believe me we did not get away with anything while on the road, if they didn't pull us over they certianly called my parents to tell them what we were up too. ( My mom still tells her officer friends what we drive. lol)

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answers from Atlanta on

I think its typical to have these concerns as myself I am quite sure I will be a total wreck because I have twin girls so I will have double the worry. However, I strongly believe in God and I know he has my back as well as my children. My children are sanctified through me being a believer. God will protect them and if it is their time to go then their purpose was served for God. We don't understand it and we can be angry about it and go through the process but my children never really have belonged to me-they were given to me as a gift from God and it is MY job on this earth to raise them up according to HIS word. It's hard to do in this day and time but God will always have our backs so long as we trust in him and have faith in him-even when we have turned our backs on him-he is STILL there. I'm not going to sit here and say it would be easy to take if something so tragic happened......and you never "get over it" it just becomes easier to deal within time but I also look as death as a temporary seperation. All those loved ones I have lost I will see them again someday when it is my turn.
I think you turning off the text feature was a grand idea-prevention is the key and if that is what you have to do in order to get her attention then so be it. She doesn't "need" the texting feature in the first place. The phone is meant as a means of being able to keep in contact with you and being able to have access to a phone if an emergency were to arise. Good for you mom!

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answers from Denver on

I see a wide assortment of responses here. As a mom of a thirteen year old, I am not certain I have the mommy experience to reply. But I do know that I would definitely not wait until my child was 18 or older to let them get their license. My neighbors did this and then their child just got their license and moved out with her boyfriend. All of a sudden she was a new driver with no real guidance nor rules. Definitely not a good situation. Obviously that wasn't in their plan book. My daughter has her mind set on college after high school. Why would I want a new driver in the college scene? My plan is to delay no later than 17 and then definitely monitor,monitor, monitor. Good luck!

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answers from Green Bay on

My dad had all kinds of crazy rules, or else he would take the car away. Looking back, they weren't so crazy.
1. I wasn't allowed to drive if it was snowing or raining.
2. I wasn't allowed to drive with the radio on.
3. I wasn't allowed to drive with more than two friends in the car.
4. He paid the insurance, but I paid the gas, and I wasn't allowed to get a job until after graduation, which meant I couldn't go to far on babysitting money.

Good luck with this one. I will be interested in hearing some of the responses.

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answers from Columbus on

My first two kids didn't drive alone till they were 18. My third at 16. They're all different. If you can't trust your daughter not to text and drive, can you trust her not to do other dangerous things when she drives? Just keep her temps until she's 17 and she can prove she's responsible enough to get her full driver's license and drive alone. Of course, she'll be mad at your for it, but driving is serious business.That accident is a perfect example.



answers from Nashville on

unfortunately there are statistics for everything, even things you don't think about.
There are phones that are by minutes that you can buy her just to keep in her glove box for emergencies. She can keep her phone for text or whatever if she promises she will not use it while driving. Or she keep it at home and only use the emergency one you give her. You must judge her by her responsibility at this point. Is she a good girl that you can trust? If so, you must worry about other teens and drivers so teach her to pay attn. I still remember specific things my dad told me when driving so be sure to hammer home certain things. I learned 25 yrs ago and to this day as I am driving I think of "turn your radio down when you enter a shopping center or neighborhood", "always, always, use your blinker, act as though the car won't turn unless it is on", "always, always, look quickly at every corner of every intersection b/c someone may be running the red light", "always, always pull over or stop if you hear sirens, it is someone's life in danger and they must get to them!".....
sit down and have a talk with her about your concerns, tell her that you are serious about this driver's license thing and if she does not be responsible, you will take her license away. She means that much to you.
Try not to worry.



answers from San Francisco on

My mom had us all wait at least 6 months after we turned 16 to get our license. I think my youngest sister it was more like a year and a half. You are her parent and you should be able to tell if she is mature enough to drive on her own. I hope they change the driving age to 18 by the time my daughter is that age...lol In australia it is 18 and I think it makes way more sense.



answers from Dallas on

I hear you - i dread the day my kid can drive or be driven by other kids. I did hear there was an app for the phones that would not allow the phone to be used while it detects that the car is in motion. You might check that out.
Good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

I think her learning how to drive at a young age is useful in case of emergencies. However, the daily grind of to and from on a daily basis is another story. And the freeway can be intimidating for some. But without the investment of time spent learning, there will be no sense in her learning in case of said emergency. My biggest suggestion will be to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Namely, the friends in the car. I didn't allow my kids friends in the car whatsoever. They are a distraction. Your daughter must be able to view the signage, make decisions, probably listening to the radio, and have thoughts in her head during the entire process. She is capable, but less is more for this situation. I think you're right about how you handled the phone situation. Let her know that within six months you may revisit the decisions based on how she does. You can add GPS Locator to your phone so you know where she is at all times. You can track it with your cell or pc. You also can turn her phone off, and the 911 will still work. Or you can block all incoming calls, but then YOU can't call. You can block certain numbers, but perhaps that's not necessary. I think with holidays, and late night driving you might want to restrict her, until more time and experience pass or your in the car with her. Eventually I allowed one friend in the car. I told that friend to not distract her with cd's, radio, food, etc. She eventually was able to drive with a carload, but we waited a year before we allowed that. It was worth the wait. We owe those parents a courtesy of concern too.



answers from Milwaukee on

Someone may have already mentioned this, but insurance companies noe have video cameras you can install in your car. Its a way to help lower your rates.

Also, when i turned 16 my mom didn't immediately let me drive whenever, especially not with my friends- i think it was 3+ months-now i get it of course, just cuz she has her license doesn't mean shes prepared 100% to be driving around w a bunch of other teens distracting her.



answers from Columbus on

We have a 3 month rule. You can't drive anyone (except family) until you have had your license for 3 good months and you can't ride with anyone who has not had their license for at least 3 months. We have some friends who have a 6 month rule.
Let her drive a lot with you while she has her temps. In the rain and on the free way, they need experience with all kinds of driving conditions.



answers from Joplin on

Don't let her drive with flip flops on...very unsafe.
Get her a hands free headset for her phone for driving.
Limit the number of people she can have in the car at a time.



answers from Seattle on

How is the mass transit in your area? Is biking an option? There are some pretty cool power-assist bikes (bikes with an electric motor) out there. We own a car but rarely use it. Just because she has a license does not mean you need to give her access to a car. There are other ways of getting around.


answers from Norfolk on

Talking on the phone while driving isn't great either and studies are proving hands free does not make a difference in how distracted the driver is.
Try to get her in the habit of turning off the phone and putting it in the glove box before she turns the engine on and only taking it out again when she is parked and the engine is off again.
If you are parked - talk to your hearts content.
If you are driving - nothing else is more important than paying attention to what you are doing and what everyone else is doing on the road.



answers from Kansas City on

I'll admit I've been tempted to text, check email or make calls in the car, especially at a red light. Who can resist that little ping that means someone said/sent something to you?! To prevent myself from doing this, I toss my purse with the phone in it in the backseat, out of reach. If I have an emergency, the bluetooth connection in my car will allow me to contact someone with voice dial.

Of course, if your daughter is already trying to do these things with you IN the car, I can't see her purposely distancing herself from the device without you in it. So a no phone or at least no texting plan option is a good move.



answers from Reno on

My son, now 17 years, got his driver's license last January, so I understand where you're coming from.

First, you are under NO obligation to let her get her license at 16. If she has not shown good responsibility with her phone with you in the car, I wouldn't let her get her license. Period. Obviously, she'd rather text than drive, so let her do just that.

Second, if you do let your daughter get her license, there's no rule or law that says she gets to drive anywhere she wants. You can severely restrict her until you feel more comfortable. My son got to drive himself mostly to school events and back home. Maybe to the grocery store (the parking lot is scary, even for veteran drivers). In the past month, I bit the bullet and let him drive home from the airport after dropping me off. That was an hour's drive and we practiced before I left. I also let him drive 45 minutes to an all day job shadow, complete with lunch money. He handled both events beautifully and I'm much more confident about him driving. (I live in rural Nevada, so everything outside of our little town is 45-60 minutes away.)

BUT! My son is very trustworthy with the car. He doesn't even take his phone out of his pocket while he's in the driver's seat. He has shown this responsibility since he got his permit. I was also a mean old mommy and had him test at the single hardest DMV office in our area...one rumored to flunk ALL teens their first try simply because they were teens. He did so well his test-person came in to tell me so!

Best of all, my son respects his limits. He won't drive up to Lake Tahoe or other mountainous points without an adult; he's just not comfortable yet. I get that. It took me years to get comfortable with mountain driving.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. Until your daughter proves herself worthy of that privilege, don't give it to her. I would suggest sitting down with her and laying out the behaviors you expect to see (in and out of the car) that, to you, would prove her worthiness. She must show these behaviors for at least 6 months, with only very minor failures. Why be so strict (since she's sure to ask)? It's simple. Even a minor misjudgments behind the wheel can cause death or severe injury. As the mom, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure she is safe and others are safe from her. She may hate you forever, but at least she'll be alive.

FYI...I just had said 17 year old son read your post and my response. His advice to your daughter is that whatever is on the phone is not worth her life. Wait until you get out of the car (stoplights don't count)!



answers from Washington DC on

All I know is my girls are gonna say NOT FAIR when they reach the age of being able to drive. I WILL drive them everywhere. Just cause they reach the state's age, doesn't mean they have reached the age or level i find appropriate. There's no need to take a chance.

Have her earn her way to actually getting to drive alone. She earns her car, her gas, insurance, etc. She'll be about 18 or 19 by that time when shes able to, and by then hopefully she'll be more level-headed to make better decisions.

Honestly, seriously, 16 is too young- especially with the slowly-maturing, spoiled, irresponsible teens we have nowadays, they just can't handle it as a whole. I think parents need to be more involved and not just go by what the state thinks is right- parents need think for themselves, a good example for the kids.

Denise had some great suggestions as did a few others, but I still say, WHAT'S THE RUSH?

I didn't start driving til I was 18, but that was my own decision- and it was no big deal at all!



answers from Cleveland on

Lucky you, you are in OH. Sign her up for defensive driving day at Mid-Ohio School near Columbus (on a Sat).



answers from Cleveland on

You're the parent. You set the rules. Driving is a privilege, not a right. (at least not at that age!)

The 6 month rule is a good one: no driving by yourself for six months after getting your license.



answers from Seattle on

You would think after her experience she would be more careful! Show her some YouTube videos about texting and driving, they're pretty awful! Our state you get a basic license which states no one but family can ride with you for a certain period of time. And I heard some parents make the teen put their phone and/or purse in the backseat or trunk to avoid distractions. Let her know that she can die or get a ticket for it! I would be blunt personally..better scared than injured, dead, or killing someone else!

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