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Keep Teenagers Safe Behind the Wheel

By Dr. Charles Fay

Too many of our children are injured or killed as they drive on America's roads.

Last year more than 3,500 teenage drivers were killed and 344,000 were injured in accidents, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. Have you ever wondered how safe a driver your teenager really is? Take the following test to see if your child is safe behind the wheel:

My teen paid for at least half of the cost of his/her vehicle and insurance. True False
My teen uses my car and has made a deposit into my savings account equal to the insurance deductible. True False
My teen is respectful and follows the rules of our home and his/her school. True False
My teen handles frustrations well. He/she does not lose his/her temper easily. True False

If you answered "False" to one or more of these questions, your teenager may not be as safe a driver as you thought. The good news is that it isn't too late to take three steps that may save his or her life and the lives of others.

Life-Saver #1

Make sure your child makes a meaningful financial contribution to his or her driving privilege.

Kids take much better care of their cars - and drive much more carefully - when they have spent a significant amount of their own money purchasing them or paying for insurance. Using an appropriate amount of empathy, a parent might say:

Feel free to drive when you have enough money to pay for at least half of your own car and half of your insurance.

Feel free to use the family car when we don't need it and you've made a deposit into our savings account equal to the insurance deductible.

Life-Saver #2

Make it possible for your teen to drive only when you know he or she respects the rules at home and at school.

If teenagers do not respect their family or school rules, what are the chances they will respect the rules of the road? Parents need to say:

When I know that you are ready to follow rules at home and at school, then I'll feel more comfortable that you will follow them out on the road. Then it will be time for you to drive.

Life Saver #3

Before driving, your teen must show he or she can handle frustration without losing his/her temper.

Kids who easily lose their tempers at home are sure to lose them behind the wheel and become part of the "road rage" epidemic. With this type of child, a parent can say (without using any sarcasm):

When I know that you handle your frustrations without throwing a fit, I will know you are ready to handle the frustrations of driving without doing something you will be sorry for later.

Love and Logic is designed to help parents raise responsible kids who are prepared to make smart choices about serious issues. Parents around the world are applying these practical strategies and finding they sleep much easier at night. You can too!

People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased Love and Logic Speed-E Solutions: Teens and Driving


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©Dr. Charles Fay

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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.