My sixteen year old daughter got her driver’s license last month, *sigh*. I wish I could enjoy this big step, but I cringe at the thought of it. I was the same when my son started to drive. My trepidation isn’t just about the dangers of driving. It’s about having to set new limits. It’s arguing about who gets use of the car. It’s about trusting that her friends, who are also getting their licenses, will be good drivers. It’s about the new level of freedom she is gaining.
Living in New Hampshire doesn’t help. New Hampshire seems to be one of the least strict states when it comes to driving. At the tender age of fifteen and a half, kids can start driving… No permit required. No classes. No tests. Just the teen with a birth certificate and an adult. Then, once he/she is sixteen and has completed Driver’s Education and forty hours of driving time with an adult, he/she takes a written test and a ten minute (no exaggeration) driving test. The teen passes and gets a license. Said teen is then legally allowed to drive herself and her BFF around town.
However, we do not allow her to drive anyone other than us until she has had her license for at least six months. The same goes for allowing one of her friends to drive her anywhere. These are some of our limits. And, as you can imagine, they cause annoyance and inconvenience for everyone. It does seem silly to have three girls driving separately to the same place. Some of her friends parents follow the same guidelines and some do not. My father, who worked in insurance for most of his life, advised me of the devastating statistics regarding accidents involving new drivers in the first six months of having their license. An added passenger is an added distraction. And if something awful were to happen, that is two lives harmed rather than one. And I certainly wouldn’t want to have any teen feel the tragic responsibility of causing a friend injury… or worse.
I’ve had one or two people tease me about our new driver rules. All I can say is that some states actually prohibit passengers, other than family, for the driver’s first year of having a license. And some states have raised the age of being eligible for a license above sixteen.
So, what do you think of our rule? Silly or sensible?
Thank you for reading!
Until next time,
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