Questions for Parents with Teenage Drivers....

Updated on November 08, 2010
B.W. asks from Tarboro, NC
13 answers

I need some feedback from other parents about how they handled their first-time teen drivers. My oldest has been behind the wheel for a year now, passed Driver's Ed with an A+ and ended the class with an excellent driving skills asessment. She got her driver's permit a year ago and my husband and I have ridden shotgun with her all this time to make sure she has what it takes to be trusted and to also discourage bad habits behind the wheel. She is now 30 days away from the big day....the final driver's test to issue her a license. I have no doubt that she'll pass it the first time but how do families these days handle first time drivers? What freedoms do your teen kids have with the car? Do you allow passengers to ride with them? Who pays for insurance and gas for your teen to drive? Is your child listed as a primary or secondary driver on your cars for insurance purposes and do you foot the bill for everything? I have so many questions......I'm sorry......but I really need to know about these things. I know we'll be following state curfew laws as they pertain to teen drivers in our state so that's one issue I have under control....LOL. Can parents chime in to indulge me on the rest of my quesions? I'm curious to see what's really going on out there in Tennage Driving Land.

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answers from Scranton on

HI, I have an 18 year old boy who got his license at 16. He's very responible. He has a newspaper route and also works weekends and school off days at a farm. He pays for all his car expenses including insurance,gas and repairs on his car.He knew me and my husband(his stepdad) could not afford to maintain another car so he decided to take the responsbility himself. I request when he goes anywhere he calls when he gets there and when he leaves and tells which way he is coming home(what exact roads). We have not had any problems, and please don't let your girls use cell phones while they drive. Hope this answers some questions. He does give rides to friends,but not often out of town. Good luck and safe trips to you and your girls. H.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

Boy, am I glad I went through this before cellphones! That has got to be the most important and least enforced rule for today's drivers. After that, kids should absolutely have a clear understanding of who's responsibile for what. Every family has to decide what works for them (not every kid gets a car), but they should at least be responsible for gas, any tickets, and a part of the insurance. If they don't have a little of their own sweat involved, it's very hard to care if the fender gets dinged. You can add priveleges as she shows her maturity, and take away priveleges when she makes poor choices. She starts slowly, and earns her way to more and more freedom. Good luck, and don't let your insurance lapse!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is very nerve wracking for the parents. I was a nervous wreck with my daughter. Even though she was a good driver, completed the course with flying colors, I was still nervous. I got her to understand that driving was a privilege and not a right. And that it also came with responsibilities. She was going to be responsible for paying for her own gas, half of the insurance costs, etc. We also drew up a parent teenager driving contract that I think I got through Allstates website. It was very helpful to make sure she understood what was expected of her and what the consequences would be if she failed to do some of the things that were expected of her. I had thought about getting one of those devices installed in the vehicle that will tell me where she was at all times but I decided to wait to see if she gave me a reason for it. And luckily she didn't. Good luck and hang on for what could be a wild ride. It's scary to let them go no two ways about it. But it helps to have the trust and expectations established beforehand.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I was a single mom with no child support he paid his insurance and gas or didnt drive. for reasons out of his control he was 18 before hegot his liscense and spent 3 yrs with an adult in the car with him. my rules. when first in a big town you have to ride with me to watch how other drivers are going to cut you off and what to expect.mine is 21 we moved to a big town and I told him to stay on the feeders till he gets more experience. he can drive the interstate with us in the car only. you can only have the car when I dont need it. you are to be in before 1 am before the drunks get out. he is listed only as a secondary so his insurance will be cheaper. when he first started he had to call when he got there so I knew he was allright. its scary but you got to let them do it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

There's lots of ways to do all the above and I'm sure you and your husband will weigh it and come up with a good plan. What helped us was that we had our kids sign a contract we had written with rules and consequences for each broken rule. One of our rules was that the child had to have his insurance deductible saved up before getting driving privileges. MOST kids have a fender bender the first year. It takes a lot of stress out of it knowing the the money is there AND NOT coming out of your pocket. It makes it easier to remain calm and go on. The child takes the brunt of the consequence (don't get all hung up on the possibility of insurance rates rising.....)

If you would like me to copy and paste the contract to give you an idea.....just email me. This contract was suggested to us and really helped us. We just changed it to fit our beliefs.

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answers from Wheeling on

If she has a job, let her pay some on the insurance and list her as a secondary driver (unless she's NOT). If her grades and home/house work are her duties, you pay, and give her some 'benefit-specific' chores (like someone else said, keeping the cars clean and running errands for you).

You just have to use your instincts about when, where, what, and with whom she drives on a case-by-case basis. Trust her until she gives you reason not to. Don't make a lot of rules, and make them 'do' rules instead of 'don't' rules. You know, like: Be home by such-&-such time, Be conscientious, turn your cell-phone off while driving, etc instead of: don't pick up anyone, don't use your cell-phone, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

My sons were responsible for keeping our vehicles washed and clean inside. They ran errands for us. They filled the tank for us when asked.
We did not buy them a car, they bought their own and Dad fixed them up and painted them (he was an auto body tech)..... they kinda quit washing our cars and running our errands after they got their own vehicles. We had them on our insurance until they had steady jobs and could afford their own.
Curfews didnt change just because they could drive.
I'm talking about the 80's so I'm srue this doesnt apply, but just thinking about your question took me down memory lane.
I dont recall being very stressed about them driving or who their passengers were, they were good boys with good grades and I trusted them pretty much. They are big boys now and I can honestly say theyve never had any wrecks.
The whole cell phone rule would probably be the one I would really drum into my kids if I had some right now..... I do believe that is a very dangerous distraction to young drivers for sure.
Just think back to when you were 16 and got your license.... what did YOU do? Make your rules from your experience ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

while my sons were in high school they had part time jobs to pay the difference in car insurance. (the extra it cost to have them on our policy) when they got their own cars we kept them on our policy as it was cheaper but they paid for their own insurance. they also paid all expenses related to their cars (repairs, gas, license plates etc) they were only allowed to have 1 other person in the car for the first year of having a license. (I think the law actually only stated 6 months) you child will only be listed as primary if you have as many cars as you have drivers. our kids were allowed to drive back and forth to work and if they wanted it on a weekend and we were not using it then that was a privilege that they worked for. unlimited usage did not happen in our house. if they were late getting in at night then no car the next time. When the boys started college we took over the cost of the insurance. They did take their cars to their respective colleges but they paid the parking fees and continue to pay for gas and upkeep. but since they pay their own tuition for the most part we are helping where we can. the insurance for our household is $225 a month and that covers 4 drivers and 4 cars full coverage including towing when needed

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Im not sure what state you are in but i know in ky the new driver can only have 1 friend or something like that in the car at a time. check with your dmv. when i was growing up my mom payed for insurance b/c it was cheaper that way we kind of split the cost of gas i didnt have a job until i was 17 but i did baby sit so my gas money came from there. it seems like i was allowed to stay out as late as i wanted but my mom gave me a cell phone and if i didnt let her know where i was then i got grounded and no driving anywhere but to and from school. it really depends on how much you trust your daughter. good luck!



answers from Provo on

My daughter is 20 so I have gone through this with one child already and my son has his learner's permit already. He will get a license in December. He knows that he needs to get a job to pay for the insurance. I know that he will appreciate things a little more if he foots the bill. I will probably provide him with an older car and put liability insurance on it. I have already told him that if he does something unreasonable and wrecks the car then it is all over for him. I talk to him about driving and talking on a cell phone. It is very dangerous and if he ever does this then he will lose car privileges. I try to teach him responsibility and if he keeps his grades up and pays a discount on his insurance then I think he will be the one to benefit.


answers from Seattle on

Only our oldest has his license, he is now 19. Hubby and I and hubby's parents each went in half and bought him a car for his 18th b-day. We got him an '01 Izuzu Rodeo, for $6000. It had less than 80,000 miles on it and runs great...good lil' snow car!

Oldest has a PT job and is going to college...he lives with a buddy and pays his for his gas and incidentals. In-laws have offered to pay his insurance for awhile till he gets settled.

He is on our insurance as the primary driver of his car, not ours...and it made our insurance jump from >$100 to < $300 a month, yikes!


answers from Dallas on

Our daughter will get her DL in December. She can't wait...I, on the other hand, would wait 10 more yrs, LOL

Teaching her to drive and getting behind the wheel with her has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Don't get me wrong, she is a good, safe driver....the problem is me and I know it is a part of letting go.

Our rules...yes, she will have a car, very nice one.
No, she will not be driving to school daily next semester.
No, she will not be allowed to have friends in the car with her for a while (at least until we get a feel of how she truly is at driving),
She will be added to our insurance which will mean it will jump from $900/6 months to about $2000/6 months, we do plan to have her help with the insurance, nominally...nothing huge but enough for her to realize that it is very expensive.
I love the city curfew....there is no arguing about that one!!
Basically, yes, we will be footing the majority of the bill, gas, insurance, car is paid for, 4 yr old perfect condition low miles... very safe car, however a bit luxurious for a teen but safe.
We will not just throw her a set of keys when she gets her DL. Her driving will be controlled for quite some time.
Her Sr. High school is aobut 20 minutes away. She will be driving to and from Sr. High school in the fall of 2011.

We are in the DFW area full of huge highways and fast cars. Her next scheduled drive time is the freeway, YIKES

I look forward to your responses!! Teen drivers is a scary step



answers from Lexington on

We let our sons drive short distances, to work or to the library, for instance. But they weren't allowed to have anyone else in the car with them except one of their brothers. No friends. Every time they went out, at least for the first few months after they got their licenses, I gave them a quick reminder about safe driving. Kids these days also need to be reminded not to get distracted by their cell phones.

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