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About 3 weeks ago, my 16-year-old daughter got a speeding ticket for doing 46mph (74 km/h) in a 20mph (33 km/h) zone. (No, it's not a typo.)

She was coming home after school with no place to be after. She was pulled over within minutes of our home, in a residential neighborhood, on a road with some serious curves (thus the 20 mph speed limit).

As punishment:

  • She has had her driving privileges reduced back to when she had her permit ( she can only drive with either myself or her mother in the car )
  • Her phone outside of school
  • No TV
  • She will also be working and paying us back any costs we incur due to this event.
  • We will also be adding the module to her vehicle to track driving habits as a deterrent and a method to keep our insurance costs down
  • She will also be taking a defensive driving course

I want this event to be remembered so that she considers that breaking the law is breaking the law no matter what age you are.

We plan on giving her privileges back over time, not all at once, after she completes the defensive driving class.

Any other suggestions to make sure this lesson is learned?

UPDATE: She also got a job tonight to pay for any additional costs. Financial responsibility is important.

UPDATE II: She is still driving, but under the permit rules by my choice. By permit level rules, she is only allowed to drive with a parent in the car. She IMHO need more practice driving (and doesn't need to get rusty), and obviously needs to have the rules re-enforced.

UPDATE III: After four weeks passed, she passed her defensive driving class and obtained a job. She has earned back her phone and TV privileges.

UPDATE IV She is done with all of her conditions imposed by the court. Being proactive as a parent had a huge impact on her sentence.

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    Since it's not stated in the post, exactly what lesson do you want her to learn? There are many different ones that could arise from this teaching moment. – corsiKa Aug 31 '17 at 16:51
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    "She will also be working and paying us back any costs we incur due to this event." - Shouldn't that be enough? Isn't that what the sum of the fine is based on? – GolezTrol Sep 2 '17 at 7:43
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    I don't see why kids should be punished harder than adults, and especially since this is the first offence, let her pay the ticket, have a good talk with her, and you can always take other measures if she would do it again. – GolezTrol Sep 2 '17 at 15:05
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    Just adding my two cents as a 16 year old: No offence, but you appear to be an overly strict parent. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone deserves second and even third chances. Why would you take away her phone and access to the TV? That's going overboard. I realize that she made a mistake, but too much punishment makes people angry and bitter, instead of helping... – rahuldottech Sep 2 '17 at 15:58
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    @MisterPositive I, on the other hand, know several adults who would agree with me – rahuldottech Sep 3 '17 at 13:49

21 Answers 21

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I drive fast...too fast...and am working on breaking that habit now. Both parents drove fast and aggressive and therefore I picked up those traits, still I am the one driving and choosing to drive in that manner.

What has really helped me remember not to speed is the reason we have speed limits and other driving laws. Why is there a speed limit and why was it set at 20 MPH?

Have a frank discussion with your daughter to encourage her to think about the why.

A 20 MPH area is more than likely a residential or school area.

Reason #1 you do not speed in these areas, children and pets may be running around playing and may unexpectedly end up in the street.

Ask your daughter, "At 46 MPH do you think you could see and react to a child running into the street chasing after a ball?" Guarantee Hopefully her answer is "No." Then ask her what would happen if she hit this kid? Does she understand it is considered manslaughter if they die? Or how would she feel if she hit a family's dog? (Of course, you may want to be more gentle in this discussion, you don't want to scare her away from driving, just teach her it comes with serious responsibility).

For new drivers, understanding why rules and laws are in place will have a better effect than just saying "drive by the rules of the road".

I also strongly suggest courses which teach young drivers about their cars, how accidents happen, how to steer out of a skid, etc.

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    "Guarantee her answer is 'No'" -- what if it's not "No"? What if it's "I'm young, I have fast reactions and the car has good brakes"? – Andrew Leach Aug 30 '17 at 20:56
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    @AndrewLeach, my dad demonstrated it: he found a quiet street with a large number of cars parked along the side, hid behind one of the cars, and had me drive down the street. When I got near him, he'd toss a beach ball out in front of me. I hit that ball every single time. – Mark Aug 30 '17 at 22:39
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    @Mehrdad: The anti-locking brakes will limit the force that you can apply anyway, so I doubt that there is any danger in damaging brakes. Also most people don't brake with full force, this can be seen in those driving safety courses. – Martin Ueding Aug 31 '17 at 7:03
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    No need to be gentle in the discussion about hypothetically hitting the neighbor's dog. If she can't handle that conversation, she really won't be able to handle the conversation after she actually hits the neighbor's dog. Coincidentally, a few years back, my neighbor was speeding past our house and hit our family dog. The dog lived, but was in bad shape for a few months. So yeah, these things really do happen, and you should be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions. – martin Aug 31 '17 at 7:26
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    20 mph limit doesn't necessarily mean there's an immediate localised hazard - some highway authorities are very keen on blanket 20mph limits, notably Edinburgh in my region. I can't say that such limits increase respect for the law, but it's happening anyway. – Toby Speight Aug 31 '17 at 14:26
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I'm late to the discussion here, but...

I believe firmly in making the punishment fit the crime.

If she wasn't on the phone while speeding, I don't understand what her phone has to do with it. How a television comes into play mystifies me (does she watch Fast & Furious movies all the time?)

If you want her to learn to be reasonable, modeling it is better than demanding it and punishing her when she disappoints you.

At that age, I did much stupider and more dangerous things than that, but I don't anymore, because my frontal lobe finished maturing.

So, what to do? Make the punishment fit the crime. How far you go is up to you, but it should be related to driving responsibly, not how horrified you are about her poor decision making. Bad decisions have consequences (fines, court appearances, etc.). Let her experience them.

At 15, I got my first job flipping burgers. At 17, I put a down payment on my first (very used) car, and paid for my insurance, gas, and everything else related to transportation. Your daughter can be banned from using your car, and you can even go this far. It's not impossible.

You're her father. Make sure that when she starts driving again, she's not doing it to put distance between her and you.

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    "I don't understand what her phone has to do with it." As an adult, I believe she would potentially have to do jail time. They don't have phones in jail. Just want the impact to be felt if you screw up this severely. Good points though on the rest. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 1:20
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    @MisterPositive - But by that logic, they wear orange jumpers, too. Why not remove all but one outfit of clothes? – anongoodnurse Aug 31 '17 at 1:52
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    Where the line of lunacy is varies for each of us. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 10:13
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    Paying for the increase in car insurance payments seems like a "fits the crime" punishment. Kid might not be able to afford it though. – T.E.D. Aug 31 '17 at 14:17
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    @icc97 - Yes. An unqualified yes. I'm not exaggerating. The worst thing I ever did involved almost running into kids exiting a school bus. Actual kids, that I missed only by the grace of God. I am shocked, appalled, and embarassed to this day by the irresponsibility I displayed. I was a teenager. Teenagers don't quite process things the way adults do. They aren't all as bad as I was, but they are different from adults. – anongoodnurse Sep 5 '17 at 15:28
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I'm going to go a different route than many of the other answers, in that you could do what my parents did for me. It not only forced me to take responsibility for my actions, but also to cover the costs incurred by my reckless driving. For my anecdotal information, I was doing 104 on the freeway and got incredibly lucky, as rather than writing 104 (which is considered reckless endangerment with a vehicle), the officer wrote 85+. The fine was still a hefty 600$, but I'll never forget the lesson I learned. With that said, here's my advice.

Have her pay the entire cost of the ticket with money she earns. If she can't, have her go through to court process of highway cleanup.

At 18, the judgement of what is essentially a child with a car is not great, but by stressing the urgency of why what she did was dangerous and providing background that it's coming not from a place that is intentionally hurtful, she can learn a lot from the experience.

Remind her that even if you didn't take away her license for good, the police certainly can, especially at that speed above the limit. Help her to understand that the rules in these locations where the speed limit may be lower are there for a reason, and that you want her to be safe. She's driving at twice the speed of the fastest human on Earth in a 2-ton rolling metal box; If she doesn't hurt herself, she might hurt someone else.

Keep in mind that as teenagers we did stupid things too, so don't pass to harsh a judgement simply for not having the background and experiences that you do. Those understandings only come with time, and the only person she can learn that from is herself. She's an adult, and you should expect her to take accountability, but she is your daughter, so provide the same love and care you did for her growing up.

Tldr; Let her learn her own lesson, and help her to understand not that what she did was wrong, but why.

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    I can't upvote this enough. She's responsible for paying the fine but that's her punishment, she should have a job of some kind (if not, she'll need to get a job to pay for the ticket) so that'll be punishment enough. Don't lecture her about how what she did was wrong or try and pile additional punishments on top otherwise she'll just resent you for it. Also extra +1 for "as teenagers we did stupid things too" – RobbG Aug 30 '17 at 22:10
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    OK, my unqualified comment as a non-parent bystander: I think what this answerer suggest is an ABSENCE of "the plan". Any meddling, be it punitive (additional discipline) or enabling (paying part of the fines), from your side just distorts the responsibility and makes it look arbitrary/negotiable. – rackandboneman Aug 31 '17 at 3:40
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    @RobbG EXACTLY. You do not punish a child for being punished. If they get detention, you don't groundthem for it, if they get a ticket you dont take away their privileges (driving privileges maybe, if there is a cost to you via insurance or if you are concerned about their safety.) – kingfrito_5005 Aug 31 '17 at 17:22
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    @kingfrito_5005 : Why not use double-jeopardy? As an adult, I can be punished both criminally and civilly. Here's the perspective how this topic related to me: Growing up, I was given high expectations about behavior in school. If school threatened me with detention, the reason I found that significantly threatening is that my parents would find out when I didn't get home when expected (especially they'd find out during the years when I had to use a bus). If a school provides an insufficient punishment, why should parents withhold from having a useful impact? – TOOGAM Sep 1 '17 at 5:19
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    @TOOGAM I disagree. When you punish someone at home and they get punished outside home, that person will not feel welcome anywhere. While I'm not a medical professional, I think that it's quite clear that this can lead to stress or depression, and can lead to more rebellion. Don't push people away by punishing them, pull them even closer and give them a humane treatment, talk with them (preferably some time after the event so that they can calm down) and discuss about their actions. But don't punish them even more. – Ave Sep 1 '17 at 9:36
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Disclaimer: I satisfy my speed cravings by breaking speed limits on a bicycle. I've done worse than your daughter. If you do it just right, a speed bump on a steep downhill results in a really satisfying flight time. Also works with rollerblades. Also, getting a ticket for going 55km/h on a bicycle on flat road without wind in your back kinda counts as a trophy.

End disclaimer (and I don't recommend doing that obviously)

So about 3 weeks ago my 16 year old daughter go a speeding ticket for doing 46 in a 20.

OK, this is insane.

Here, 20mph is about 30kph, so there will be speed bumps.

46mph is 74 kph !!!! Going over a speed bump at that speed is just crazy. Some of the wheels will leave the ground. If there was a speed bump (and in a 20mph zone, there should be at least one) and she says "oh I didn't notice" then... nope. Nope, nope, she should have a bruise on her forehead from hitting the roof of the car at the apex of the zero-G flight.

You will thus bill her for checking the car's suspension.

As punishment, she has lost her driving privs, her phone outside of school, and no TV. She will also be working and paying us back any costs we incur due to this event

I think this is too rough.

She should be responsible for her own actions. So, she should flip burgers to pay for the fine, or any damage to the car, no questions about that. She proved she was unfit to drive, so no car. But the rest is too much. "No TV and no phone" is just because you're pissed. You're a grown man, you dont get pissed.

You're her father. She should be absolutely sure you will have her back no matter what, because this is what fathers are for. If she makes a bad decision, like... you know... getting pregnant from a thug at 17 (next year) and stuff like that... you really don't want her to hide it from you. If the punishment you deal right now is too harsh, she will make a note that she's better off hiding her real, life-changing problems from you. Then she will tell you she's pregnant when it really shows. And you will have a Much Bigger Problem That You'll Wish You Didn't Have But Its Too Late Now. You kinda want to avoid that.

I read a really interesting book the other day, the title is "Absurd decisions and how to avoid them." The author makes the argument that too-harsh punishments discourage people from admitting their mistakes, which is how mistakes get fixed. There were lots of interesting statistics in this book, about stuff like patients kicking the bucket because the surgeon wasn't at his best while performing, yet didn't tell anyone, because he didn't want to get punished, stuff like that.

I want this event to be painful so that she remembers that breaking the law is breaking the law no matter what age you are.

You're missing the big picture.

You want her to know you'll always be on her side, so she will tell you about her future mistakes because she values your help.

Suggested course of action:

It's a thin line.

She needs to admit that it's her fault. If you lost it and screamed at her before she did, that's your problem.

She pays for the fine and other expenses. If she needs to get a job to do this, then you help her get a job! You don't pay for the fine, but every burger she flips teaches her a lesson.

If she goes to court on this, then you provide all the moral support you can... except of course paying for expenses.

EDIT

Reading material for your daughter:

The other day I was exiting the highway. In the distance in front of me were stopped cars (there is always a traffic jam on this exit). So I slowed down gently and switched on the flashers, in our road code this is supposed to warn the ones coming behind that there is a jam.

I looked in the mirror, and saw the lady driving the car a few hundred meters behind playing with her cellphone, entirely oblivious and going way too fast.

So, that's the "OH SHIT" moment. Can't dodge because I'm already on the exit ramp, with safety rails on both sides. Fortunately, I have about 100m available in front of me to come up with a plan (that's because there is always a traffic jam there, and I know someday an idiot will rear end me, so I always keep a wide safety margin).

So I hit the horn, downshift and slam the gas. The car is a 220bhp V6 sedan, so it takes off. I watch the mirror: the lady drops her phone in slow motion and brakes so hard her car tilts forward, tires smoke, the works.

I gently slow down and stop behind the line of stopped cars, but not too close, because y'never know.

She makes it and comes to a stop with about 20m to spare. But I still hear tires squealing...

Double OH-SHIT. So I stop looking in the mirror, clutch, burn some rubber and stop about a foot behind the bumper of the car in front of me.

While I do that, I hear some apocalyptic loud noise as the guy who was behind that distracted lady rear-ends her car at highway speed, the scene in the mirror is worthy of Michael Bay, there are bits of car flying all over the place, some clank and bounce on my roof, the rear of her car explodes like a watermelon hit with buckshot then lifts in the air from the impact.

Aaaand, all this mess slides on the tarmac, then comes to a stop with a tiny bump on my rear bumper. Didn't even leave a scratch.

  • Aftermath:

The lady was shocked but fine. Good thing she was alone in the car, as her small 4-seater city car had become a 2-seater. The rear end had simply ceased to exist. Airbags didn't go off.

Amazingly, the other guy walked out a bit bloody, bruised, maybe a few broken ribs, deaf because all his airbags went off, but he did walk out!

Needless to say, both cars were scrap metal, but the passive and active safety features did their job, at an impact energy about twice what they're rated for. The engineers must be proud...

So, it is not like in the movies at all. There are real people in the cars. The noise and the violence of it is impossible to describe. There's only time for split second decisions.

All the safety margin (a few hundred meters) was used that day, up to the last foot. With 10 meters less, my car would have gotten hit in the rear, maybe I'd have neck pain, and also the lady would be deaf due to her airbags popping.

So, while I couldn't prevent the accident, the fact I left a wide buffer in front of me really helped lessen the consequences. If I hadn't looked in the mirror, noticed the driver playing with her phone and honked to snap her out of it, it would have been much worse. I tried to do what I could with very limited options.

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    +1 for "trophy" comment, & fun reading in the Edit. "Here, 20mph is about 30kph, so there will be speed bumps." Well, not here. Where I live, speed bumps are not something I've seen typically deployed in 20mph school zones. – TOOGAM Sep 1 '17 at 5:33
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    @peufeu I tried to find the book you mentioned Absurd decisions and how to avoid them, but couldn't. Can you share more info? – Nikola Sep 1 '17 at 8:21
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    I'm pretty sure the driver wouldn't have been doing 46mph if there were speed bumps... – David Richerby Sep 1 '17 at 12:46
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    In Ontario, Canada: Motorists are considered operators of "motor vehicles" and can get speeding tickets. Bicyclists are instead considered operators of "vehicles"; they can get other tickets, but not speeding tickets. – unforgettableid Sep 1 '17 at 15:24
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    Re: Your disclaimer. What you're doing is illegal and very dangerous, and doing it on a bike doesn't make it less illegal or less dangerous. – Ave Sep 1 '17 at 17:30
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Your kid is 16 years old... That implies that for the past 16 years she has heard you get mad, take things away, and all that other fun stuff.

She didn't speed because she was afraid of your consequences, and most likely that was not her first time speeding. And let's be honest, it's not about the law that much (we all break the law at some point. A study found that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day). As a parent, you must take a solid look at why this specific infraction is serious to you.

Why is this serious to you? Well, that is because you have experience under your belt and know the real consequences - Death, injury, death/injury of other. That's the real reason you want her to follow the speed limits, buckle her seatbelt and drive defensively.

The reason I personally don't speed, buckle my seatbelt and drive defensively is not because my parents got mad at me and sent me to a defensive driving course. And it's not going to be for her either. in six months to a year, she will be speeding again unless you give her some experience. The solution is not punishment (in-fact that will make it worse), but wisdom.

Now, with that in mind, the real question is: How can you impart experience onto your 16yr old daughter?

Simple: Instead removing her privileges and all that, how about on the weekend (or weekdays, or whenever), go to an ER and see if they will let your daughter witness some of the MVA's that happen. Maybe even ride alongs with the ambulance.

To be honest, this should be a standard thing before getting a licence to get into a projectile that produces the largest number preventable of deaths in the US.

I can guarantee you, that after the first few MVA's that she see, she will follow the speed limits, buckle her seatbelt and drive defensively. And as an added bonus, she will most likely not drink and drive, or drink for that matter.

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    This should go without saying, but coordinate with the hospital / ambulance company first. – Jdahern Aug 30 '17 at 23:27
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    @MisterPositive As much as I like the approach in sentiment, I would be careful not to "incorporate" too many approaches. You want her to understand by herself. The more direct punctuated pressure you put on her, the more her young rebellious mind will close and just see this as you trying to dictate how she thinks (not that adults like to be told something, but with youngsters it's typically even worse). Most smokers aren't put off by those nice pictures on cigarette packages. – Frank Hopkins Aug 31 '17 at 8:54
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    I'd really like to see a study that finds that the average American commits 3 felonies a day. That's rather hard to believe. – AJ Henderson Aug 31 '17 at 16:18
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    Relevant: Does the average American unwittingly commit three felonies a day? TL;DR: the only way that statement is remotely true involves some serious mental gymnastics. – user9611 Aug 31 '17 at 21:26
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    Watching actual accidents happening - youtube has LOTS of dvr car accident footage - would be immensely more useful than seeing mangled bodies in an ER or even the static aftermath of an accident. Actually watching speeders lose control and crash would teach consequences to speeding & bad driving, and show what to look out for when actually driving. You can learn from everyone else's accidents & mistakes, often from a front seat perspective. (And do ambulances really do "ride-alongs"? I wouldn't want some untrained stranger sneezing on my wounds if I were in an ambulance) – Xen2050 Sep 2 '17 at 23:56
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Make her financially responsible for the vehicle.

First of all she is the one who ought to be paying the fine. On top of that, your/her insurance rates will go up as a direct result. She needs to be responsible for that as well.

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EU based answer (where the minimum age for a full driver’s license is 18 in most states):

Driving is an adult matter with the according responsibilities, and authorities have quite a few education measures in place for people who violate the rules—both for underage and adult drivers.

I’d advise you to treat her as an emerging adult who needs to learn to deal with the consequences of her own behavior, not as a child to be shielded from the outside world. Unless otherwise required by law (she is underage, after all), do not act as an intermediary here. Have her take responsibility.

Have her deal with the authorities, have her figure out how to pay the fine, have her deal with any other consequences (mandatory extra training, assessment, whatever your state requires for her to get her license back). If you have extra work or expenses due to her driving violation, have her cover those expenses and somehow compensate you for the time (e.g. one hour of doing housework for each hour you spent dealing with this).

Do, however, guide her through this. Talk to her and explain why her behavior was not just unlawful but dangerous and could result in serious injury or death of innocent people. Explain to her what she needs to do now: Will she need to appear in court? What options does the law provide if she cannot pay the full fine immediately? If her driver’s license is going to be suspended/withdrawn, what does she need to do to get it back? Make sure she learns something from this, and that the lesson is not just “Dad’s gonna be furious if I do this again”.

Don’t impose any extra punishments such as taking away her phone or not allowing her to watch TV—that will just create tensions and not really help in driving home the point.

As for driving privileges—if she is/was driving your car, you do have a valid point for letting her use it only after she demonstrates she will do so in a responsible manner from now on. For instance, you could require that she drive under parental supervision for the next few weeks and allow her to drive on her own only after she has demonstrated that she respects traffic rules.

  • I wish the minimum driving age was 18 in the US. Taking her license until she turns 18 is not off the table yet. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 1:17
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    @MisterPositive Whether or not you are legally allowed to "take her license" (I don't know), unless you're willing to put in some serious time helping her regain knowledge about driving and driving safely, doing so may at best cause her to lose valuable experience. Not driving for over a year does cause even an experienced driver's skills to become rusty. – a CVn Aug 31 '17 at 9:45
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    And, pardon me for saying this, but what you say in comments to various answers doesn't sound like discipline, @MisterPositive. It sounds like you are vindicative. That's probably the worst possible approach to handling this situation. – a CVn Aug 31 '17 at 9:46
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Do you want it to be painful, or do you want it to be memorable and learned from? Which matters more? Are you aware that if these motivations work together for you, they may not, and do not, always work together for other people?

My concern here is that your post sounds like the old saw, "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Out of love and concern you want her to change how she acts, and learn from it. But I get the feeling that your main way of doing this is "make it really hurt as much as it can, so its remembered". You've done a lot and asking for advice on more to take away or do.

Enough.

I think you may have got caught up in punishment as deterrent and be overlooking the real possibility that communication and listening, and mutuality, works better for some people.

It risks pushing away, someone you love, from hearing your actual message and being able to absorb it as important to them ("rebellious" as some describe it, although its hardly rebellious to ignore someone who acts as a tyrant, which may be how you unwittingly come over).

What to do?

The obvious. Talk to her. Ask her what she thinks she needs, to remember this and understand why its important. Explain your real concern and your fear that she won't heed it and will suffer badly in future. Explain how many young people feel they are fine, but later get disabling accidents or killed because they were mistaken.

Talk. Don't just punish.

  • I think both are necessary. Understanding and penalty. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 10:18
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    For some people, yes. For others, no. Where on earth does this idea come from that everyone is motivated by an identical parental response to change behaviour, or that "one size fits all"? Is the main aim that she changes how she acts in future, or that you feel righteous? I'd say the first. If she didn't need punishment to truly change, then punishment isn't needed, end of story (a court punishes, thank god parents aren't courts and don't have to deter others by example and fixed rules.) Like I said, hammer and "looks like a nail", if one knows to punish, it still may not be best. – Stilez Aug 31 '17 at 16:56
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Depending on jurisdiction, a driving course may remove the offense off her license, avoiding the fine and the increase in insurance costs.

When taking the course for this, the cost of the course will likely be very near what the cost of the citation is. The course is still worthwhile, as it will keep it off her record and off your insurance. Going 25 mph over the posted limit may negate this possibility.

The cost of a lawyer will likely outweigh the cost of the fines. Find out what a lawyer would charge and then find out what the difference is between a fine for >25 mph over limit and the next lower bracket. The best a lawyer is likely to do is get the judge to reduce it by a bracket.

Also find out if there is a possibility of jail time or probation (that <25 mph mark sometimes triggers some serious penalties). A lawyer may be able to reduce or remove the magnitude of those.

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    +1 Yes! If she can go to traffic school to remove the points against her license, require her to go to earn back her driving privileges – cheshire Aug 30 '17 at 20:47
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    Go to driving school before the court day if possible. That may help as well. – bob0the0mighty Aug 30 '17 at 21:41
  • Surely a 16 year old should be fresh out of driving school? – gerrit Aug 31 '17 at 10:31
  • @gerrit In the US\State of GA, a driver has a permit for a year ( typically at 15). The permit allows for the young driver to drive with his or her parents only while learning. There are also a couple of courses that are required along the way too. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 10:33
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    @MisterPositive One remark towards the defensive driving course. I'm not US-based so not sure what it covers. It seems to aim at teaching how to prevent dangerous situations. In Europe we also have various forms of security/emergency driving courses, where dangerous situations are simulated (emergency breaking, your car is brought out of control by a spinning wheel on wet ground, trying to go as fast as possible through a curve). To me it was a very good experience to get to know that a car can be out of control (and how to get it back under control) - also it's fun ;) – Frank Hopkins Aug 31 '17 at 10:57
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I commend you on your approach. I suggest that you require her to do a research paper for you on the number of teen deaths due to automobile accidents. As a part of the paper, have her interview a local trauma nurse, fire fighter, and police officer, describing some of the cases these folks have had to deal with.

Just telling her not to speed and imposing pain won't give her the reasons behind your admonition. Having those who scrape the kids who don't listen off of the patient pavement describe the horror of guts, blood and brains will make a lasting impression.

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    Why would death scare a teenager? And what if it turns out that thousands of teens break the speed limit but only few (below a hundred) die or injure themselves? – Džuris Aug 30 '17 at 23:51
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    You assume that most teenagers can accurately calculate probabilities when most adult humans don't. That's why we fear getting eaten by a shark more than driving in the rain, despite the greater probability of dying from the latter than the former. The purpose of this is to inform her of the potential consequences of speeding (and distracted driving) so that she makes informed decisions, since most teenagers don't think about consequences, If it scares her, so much the better. – Andrew Neely Aug 31 '17 at 14:32
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    I like the idea of making her talk to actual people who have been through incidents like that. When I was at school we were taken to the cinema to watch a film about driving safety and they had some real people come in to discuss accidents they'd been involved in... – Pharap Sep 4 '17 at 3:47
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    One of the people described how he didn't look when coming out of a turning and a car plowed into his. He then said that he was fine because he was in the driving seat, but then said what he hadn't mentioned was that he had his best friend sat next to him in the passenger seat. His best friend was dead simply because he didn't look for oncoming traffic. Almost all of the girls and a few of the boys came out crying, and as far as I'm aware nobody ever forgot that day. I for one certainly didn't. – Pharap Sep 4 '17 at 3:47
  • +1. Although I would not give that angle in my own answer, there are some very well-done YT videos (TV ads?) out there surrounding this issue (i.e., the horror of what happens in such accidents, with actors of course). Very well done from a video/audio/SFX perspective and extremely emotionally effective. Saw some of them recently (by chance) and although I've been driving for ages and they did not contain new "information", they give some food for thought, indeed. – AnoE Sep 4 '17 at 8:54
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The point of my approach is primarily not to punish her, but to recognize the fact that she is very simply not mature enough, yet. Being immature at 16 is not a crime. Frankly, I would be horrified to see any 16 year-old behind the steering wheel.

As a parent, one of your jobs is to protect your children. In this case, this means protecting them from themselves. If they kill or badly injure someone, they will likely be hurting for the rest of their lives in one way or another.

I do not believe in punishment abstracted from the actual cause. In this case, losing smart phone and TV rights does not help to make her drive more acceptable. Even not knowing your daughter, there is a good chance that she will mostly feel resentment without relating it to the issue at hand. These punishments overshadow the fact of what she actually did - everything will be about the phone and the TV, not the car.

The good news: this approach is on many levels actually easier for yourself, and quite didactic and "clean" (i.e., at each step it should be pretty obvious how to proceed with little chance that she will blame everything on you in the end).

I would do the following:

  1. Have a long and tough talk with her. Make sure that she knows you love her, but also make sure that you can be as certain as humanly possible that she got the message. You are looking for signs that she knows that she did something wrong, specifically, and why she did so (not just lip service). You know your daughter best, I assume you can be a judge on how it feels when she is being honest. "Tough" does not mean that you yell at her, but that you don't let her "off the hook" either. Preferably she does most of the talking. Don't hold a monologue while she just nods and says "yes".
  2. Let her take full responsibility. This means she will pay any money that needs to be payed (ticket, increased insurance policies...). Obviously, as she is probably not earning much at 16 years, this will take a while. If she has some money put aside, then she will have to take it from there. Do not simply pay her ticket! This is incredibly important.
  3. If there are other consequences (court etc.), make sure she is there, and not proxied through you. If someone needs to talk to lawyers or judges, make sure she does that. Obviously you are going to be with her, but she is supposed to do the talking, and you will not screen her from the experience. Do not argue for her, as there is nothing to argue about.
  4. If The Talk in "1." did not go well, for example if she started yelling at you, or ran out and smashed doors, or you have the impression that she is just paying lip service, then first and foremost, make sure she will not drive alone again right until the time when you are sure that she has got the message and is able to talk civilly with you again. Or in other words, until she is mature enough to handle a 1-2 tonne block of steel at speed. Her not being able to accidently maim or kill someone is your prime objective. If she is really inappropriate, at your discretion feel free to not drive her around that much anymore, which would be a directly related punishment if you so wish.
  5. If The Talk basically went well, but you still think that she should not drive due to immaturity, then you can start driving her around again the same way you did in the past. As I said, being immature is not a crime. A further consequence might be (I do not know your local driving laws) that she may have to do some refresher hours when she finally starts driving again, or you can obviously require her to do so. Which she obviously needs to pay, at your discretion, depending on the level of immaturity.

TL;DR: frankly, your question makes me assume that you are already taking on too much responsibility (trying to limit damages to yourself; trying to find easy routes through the court system and such). Her getting a tough call at court, and having to pay off her ticket for months or however long it will take, or serving a few days of community labour (no idea if that is in stock for 46mph in front of a school, but you get my point) is what you actually want. Responsibility is key. Your daughter has the power to kill; if she is not even able to handle a speeding ticket, then she is absolutely not able to handle that power.

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    If I'd been caught doing 46 in a 20 zone, my parents would have added one more punishment: I'd have gone back to "learner's permit" rules -- no driving anywhere without an adult in the passenger seat of the car. – Mark Aug 30 '17 at 22:50
  • @MisterPositive, I have adjusted the wording slightly. – AnoE Aug 31 '17 at 6:26
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    @MisterPositive Yes, but going to jail has a terrible success rate in helping people get better. You want to give her a life lesson, you want her to internalize that driving too fast is inherently a problem. If you just make this about punishment she will find ways to avoid punishment - i.e. not getting caught will be the prime directive. Getting out of your house and out of your control will be the prime directive, not driving safe. – Frank Hopkins Aug 31 '17 at 9:01
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    @DarkWing, I appreciate that your comment is targetted at MisterPositive... just a comment from me - I assume jail is not an option here. I don't know specifics about what can actually happen to her, but at least in my (non-US) country the worst that could really happen in this case (especially with no accident involved) would be a hefty ticket + losing the licence etc. (especially for fresh drivers). – AnoE Aug 31 '17 at 16:56
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    I too am horrified at the idea of a 16 year old behind the wheel. I certainly wouldn't have let myself aged 16 behind the wheel of a car and I actually considered myself to be fairly mature at that age (at the very least, I didn't do any of the dangerous things other users here have attested to doing). I think a large fine and a loss of licence is what would happen in my country too. I think I'm starting to understand why America has such a big prison problem. – Pharap Sep 4 '17 at 3:36
6

Visit court

Require that she find and attend a court trial for vehicular manslaughter.

Doing 46 MPH in a 20 MPH residential street is truly a life-threatening act. As others said, the punishment should fit the crime. She barely avoided being the subject of such a trial herself. Witnessing a trial may bring home the reality of what she was risking.

And seeing a real trial is a good education for most any teenager, anyways. All the more educational in this particular case.

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    I disagree. Vehicular manslaughter != Reckless driving. I'd recommend her to attend a court for the latter instead of the former, as she didn't harm anyone. If punishment must match the crime, this is not her punishment. – Ave Sep 1 '17 at 9:49
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    @Avery You missed the point. After having a member of my family killed by a teenager driving a car recklessly, I learned first-hand how the only thing separating reckless driving from vehicular manslaughter is luck. That is precisely the lesson that needs to be learned by the teenager in question, and apparently by you too. – Basil Bourque Sep 4 '17 at 19:08
5

If it were my child they would pay all fees, and redo courses as needed. This is behavior that indicates she is not really prepared to operate a vehicle on the roads other people travel. She needs to be taking it more seriously and the only way to show you that she is, is effort on her part to regain the privilege. That isn't about punishment, that is simply a reality check for her and a gift. It is far better she learn now about the seriousness of what she has done through relatively painless monetary penalties and classes versus living with the fact she has harmed other people or herself.

As an adult who takes road safety very seriously, I can tell you what caused me to do so in case it will help. Probably first and foremost I have a cousin killed by someone speeding and running a stop sign. She was only 15 and one of the kindest people you could possibly imagine in life. She was doing nothing at all, just a passenger riding home after a fun day and someone else took her life instantly. She didn't stand a chance. That of course had a huge impact. I was 12.

Equally important though was an odd book I read for some odd reason. I may have simply been bored. It is called Sin, Sex, and Self-Control by Norman Vincent Peale. It's not all about sex like it sounds, far from it. It is about impulses, why we have them and whether we will allow those to make choices for us or if we will decide to do responsible things because they are good for us whether or not we will pay a price if we don't. It literally talks about speeding in there and talks about the idea of following the speed limits, knowing they are set based on public safety, road conditions, etc, whether or not we even believe we would be caught for speeding, because it is what is responsible and safe versus what is being forced on us by some laws. I am not wording this portion well, but the book really did make me think, a lot about how my actions could impact others who have no choice in the matter and it forever changed the way I viewed driving.

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    Sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing the experience. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 1:15
5

Well, everyone has their own parenting style, and goals. But I thought I would chime in with a few notes.

Mostly, first you want to make sure that the punishment is not a "you did x so now y happens" That works with young kids, but for teens and adults it's a barging chip.

"I can break that law it's only a fine." Think how many times you have said, or overheard someone say that. Heck most of us do it every time we drive.

I remember "The Cosby Show" where this was shown excellently. One of the kids snuck off to a concert and decided that it was ok, because she would just "pay the penalty" of being grounded. Cosby comes back with, something like "that's not how it works. It's not a payment. We your just simply not going to do that."

TV is TV and it's rarely that easy, but when trying to show that a action has a consequence, it's important to make sure that it's not a "trade" but that it's a "price of recovering from a mistake"

As punishment:

She has had her driving privileges reduced back to when she had her permit ( she can only drive with either myself or her mother in the car )

This is a good one. It shows that you feel she shouldn't be driving alone. But that it's not a "price to pay" it's a "this is the path to recovery." You might have started by revoking driving privileges. And "re-training" is a way to get them back.

Her phone outside of school
No TV

These are less good. This is just a punishment, not a road to recovery. Doesn't mean don't do it, but it does mean that your saying it's ok to drive 2x the speed limit so long and your wiling to loose your phone and TV.

She will also be working and paying us back any costs we incur due to this event.

Awesome. This again is a path to recovery. "Look, you broke the rules, your can't drive until you have a plan to cover the costs. Once you have that plan and start on it we can talk. You don't need to finish the plan but you need to make a good start on it."

We will also be adding the module to her vehicle to track driving habits as a deterrent and a method to keep our insurance costs down
She will also be taking a defensive driving course

Again two solid ways back to normal. "We can't trust you so, you will need to use this device. Also because you seem to have forgotten the lessons you learned in drivers ed, you need to take a supplemental class." Here again it's a way back to normal.

You can, of course, add more ways to get back to normal, but straight up punishment, is just a fine to pay. If it's not big enough, it won't be effective. So stay away from punishments, let her know that she "lost your trust" and these are the steps to gain it back.

Also make sure to add a time frame when the trust has been regained. For example, "After a year with no incidents you can ...." Use what every time frame you want.

Exaplian why you feel the rules are important, and why breaking them hurt your trust. Then work on rebuilding that trust.

  • barging chip -> bargaining chip? – Faheem Mitha Sep 3 '17 at 17:29
4

Nothing shocked me more than this advert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv1rKHGeMRk

It features someone driving, crashing, and rolling over a group of pre-school kids.

If that doesn't make the point, not much will. At which point you have to ask yourself if she's actually mature enough to drive.

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    I think the fact she was doing over DOUBLE the speed limit says something. In the UK that'd be an instant ban, as she's gone from doing a speed where hitting someone they'd likely survive, to almost having no chance of survival. – djsmiley2k Aug 30 '17 at 20:16
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    In NZ a while ago we had an anti-speeding ad where a car stops just in time before hitting something (don't remember what), and the driver goes "phew, that was close". Then there's a voiceover "If he was going 50 [kph], he would've stopped here". Then the car "un-pauses", hits the thing, and everyone dies. – immibis Aug 31 '17 at 0:12
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    I think we used to have similar adverts in the UK (like... 10 years ago?). They were always quite non-hard hitting tho, where as the one I linked hit the news over here for being utterly horrible.... I do recall from being a kid the adverts that basically said 'hit them at 30, they survive, hit them at 40 they die'. – djsmiley2k Aug 31 '17 at 7:07
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    The ad I'm thinking of was a like a crossover of that one and this one. I think the speeding driver crashed into a telephone pole, not another car. But I can't find it now. Anyway it probably doesn't matter exactly which of these kind of ads you use. – immibis Aug 31 '17 at 11:25
4

Part 1: Punishment. I'd say that the punishment for the crime should be whatever the police says, no more, no less. Make her pay the ticket and any cost involved. If she can't drive to school because her license is suspended, then it's up to her to get friends to pick her up, take a bus, walk, or pay for a taxi. If you are old and grown up enough to drive a car, then you are old and grown up enough to pay for the consequences. I would not give her any punishment beyond that, but make 100% sure that she pays.

Part 2: Learning. First find out how come she was going that fast. Either she didn't realise her speed, or she drove that fast because she enjoyed it, or she was showing off to friends. Each should be handled differently.

If she can't focus enough on her driving to know how fast she is going, to a degree that she does 46mph in a 20, then you'll have to do a lot of practising with her.

If she was showing off to friends, or was racing, then she has to think really hard what she is doing. 46 in a 20 is more than other drivers expect. I might turn into her road: I stop, I look in the direction she is coming from, I look the other direction, nobody's coming, I drive, and kaboom! 46 mph is a speed where pedestrians have very little chance to survive. It's a speed where you are in trouble yourself if you hit something. It's a speed where you have no time to react, and where other drivers won't see you coming.

If she was racing, then she needs a good talking to, and consequences if it happens again. If it happens, then I'd say that she needs to pay not only the fine, but also pay the cost of the car that she is driving. At least that's a good threat to make.

  • 1
    A policeman once advised me to "look both ways, twice" before leaving a stop sign. – ChrisW Sep 1 '17 at 13:37
4

Might be late answering here but I feel to add this FFR.

Thanks to a (short lived) career in go-kart racing I worked as a safe-driving instructor for a while and I came to the personal conclusion that the root cause of most of reckless driving is a massive overestimation of the human being`s reflexes and coordination combined with some sort of "challenge with death".

I have seen 40 year old tailgating the car in front "because I drive 100K miles a year, I know how to drive" or using a mobile phone because "I`m good at multitasking". Both utter BS.

Bad news is, explaining with logic has basically zero effect on this sort of behaviors. My recommendation is to put a GPS device on the car and send her to a good safe driving "academy".

The first as a contingency measure to be able to catch her if she engages again in such dangerous activity,

the latter to have her understand thru well-designed activities* what the real safety boundaries are and be a safer driver not because of fear of punishment but because of real understanding.

*In well organized safe driving school is commonplace to "play tricks" on people while in a safe and controlled enviroment, e.g. having surprise water-barriers coming up in unrelated activities, pulling the handbrake while distracting the driver and so on. This makes people realize what their limits are without impacting their ego - it works!!!

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    Funny. I'm older than 40 years, and I don't tailgate "because I drive 25K miles a year, I know how to drive". – gnasher729 Nov 4 '17 at 1:18
3

I think you should rethink making her get a job to pay this off, unless you yourself are already having a hard time making your ends meet and just can't pay for her mistake (in which case, ignore me).

First: Does she not get an allowance? Shouldn't she be able to save that and pay this off that way?

If you want to treat her like an adult, give her an income stream like an adult, then let her learn how to spend or save it properly. If not, then it's unfair to suddenly start her off on a negative balance as soon as she's made her first mistake.
If she is already getting an allowance, it's not fair to "garnish her wages" and therefore her ability to pay, so to speak. It's not like that happens to you when you speed and get a ticket.

Second—and more importantly—does she not have her own education to worry about?

Wouldn't you rather make her spend time being useful rather than (say) flipping burgers or whatever?
There are so many other things you could do!
If she's not doing so well in school, you can take this opportunity to make her read her textbooks, do her homework, do extra practices, and the like.
If she is doing well in school, you can buy some useful books for her and force her to spend as much time reading them as she would be spending working. You can even pick a topic she hates!
If she loves math and science, you can buy her books on Middle Eastern history.
If she loves literature, make her study physics and biology.

This is your chance to kill two birds with one stone. Why would you risk damaging her education and well-being when you could instead simultaneously teach her a lesson and teach her another lesson?

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    I am not sure why you think having a job while going to school is such a terrible thing. I started to work a little as soon as I could get a permit and always maintained employment. It helps you to have job experience younger so that you aren't starting out totally new later, when you do need to support yourself. Secondly, forcing unpleasant learning onto a child to me sounds less appealing as an idea. And there is nothing wrong or useless in "flipping burger". You flip them because you learn how to use a grill and feed people. You also learn about income, taxes, etc. – threetimes Aug 31 '17 at 16:06
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    @threetimes: She can learn to flip burgers etc. any time in the rest of her life as needed. She can't delay her K-12 education. It's not like people who don't work before turning 18 don't learn how to support themselves or do their taxes afterward, so that's a non-argument. If she doesn't get a proper education she'll be at risk of having to flip burgers the rest of her life. And I called it useless because if she doesn't flip those burgers someone else will, so it's not really doing anything useful. If she doesn't get her education it's not like someone else can substitute in for her life. – Mehrdad Aug 31 '17 at 16:39
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    @threetimes: It's also quite the double standard to put "forcing unpleasant learning onto a child" as somehow more painful than forcing the child into labor. It's the kid's job to learn, and half the entire point of a school is to teach kids things they would not otherwise be willing to spend their own time learning. It's not her job to get a job. That'll be her job when she's an adult. – Mehrdad Aug 31 '17 at 16:46
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    I just find it humorous I suppose. There are laws already in place to limit work hours to keep them below interfering with education. And while sure, you call it "forced labor", the fact is, learning how actually pay for your own costs isn't a minor lesson. Look at how it is evidenced by the number of people that file bankruptcy because they can't seem to grasp what they can and cannot afford. I was paying for all wants by age 15. By 35 I owned a home that was already paid off. I can't say my friends whose parents paid their way had my level of grasp on financial responsibility. – threetimes Aug 31 '17 at 16:50
  • I didn't think the forced learning was more painful, I thought it more pointless and setting them up to have bad feelings about education. To me, education should be something you want them to want. I don't want to make my kids hate learning. I can't see that beneficial for either of us. – threetimes Aug 31 '17 at 16:52
3

One option is to impose your own "extra safe" driving restrictions on her, modeled after British Columbia's standard "graduated licensing" program. (It always seemed a bit overkill to me, but after reading your question, perhaps it is warranted, and I'm glad 16-18 year olds have extra restrictions on driving.)

Fully implementing something like this would be really hard, but perhaps some extra restrictions would help.

At 16 (15?) we are allowed to get a learner permit. This has a TON of restrictions: ONE non-family passenger at MOST, no driving outside the hours of 5am-11pm (roughly), no electronic devices PERIOD: Not hands-free, not voice-activated, NOTHING. Not an OUNCE of liquor regardless of age if you have a learner permit. The biggest one: no driving at ALL unless a fully licensed driver age 25+ is sitting in the passenger seat.

After TWO YEARS of that, we get to take the "Novice" test: This lets us drive SOLO, removes the hourly restrictions, and allows up to two non-related passengers (I think).

Then after ANOTHER year, we can take the full license test.

ANY tickets and points on the license in this will reset the time you have to hold that stage for, and/or you will have to retake the applicable test for your license to be valid again.

Oh, and driving without the sticker that says "L" or "N" for learner/novice will also get you a ticket in these stages.

edit: someone asked about the N/L stickers, there should be an image at this website and also the exact details of the BC driver's program: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/new-drivers/Pages/For-parents-of-teen-drivers.aspx

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    I did not have this in my question, be we will be adding a service that notifies us if she is speeding or not, and goes out of a certain range from the house. – Mister Positive Aug 31 '17 at 1:18
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    @MisterPositive I see, then I'd make sure to explain it to her like that - an external consequence to her actions. – Frank Hopkins Aug 31 '17 at 10:39
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    @MisterPositive Seriously, don't build a prison around her life where you're the big brother watching everything. I'm not a parent, but as a grown up who has been very well surveiled in youth, I don't recommend surveillance. Do something preventive. Maybe prefer such a device in your car which beeps when the car is speeding, so she notices her mistakes before worse things happen. Train with her driving, it is very crucial gaining experience in tough situations. By that she learns why it is very advisable not to speed. Remember she's a teenager, and mistakes might be emotion driven. Talk about – leAthlon Sep 1 '17 at 14:02
  • @leAthlon The surveillance you speak of is only for the sake of my insurance not doubling in cost. – Mister Positive Sep 1 '17 at 14:06
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    Okay, then explain it to her rather than telling her daily why she was driving where how fast. Why did she speed at all? I suggest digging for that and trying to figure out the root of the problem and solving it. Having a reasonable penalty is well described on this page and necessary because of the fines etc.. But don't forget that she is 16 not 21, and psychic health is important. I lost three comrades in school to suicide, because they were unable to handle their parents' restrictions. That's no offence towards you, just make sure you're discussing more than problems she caused for you. – leAthlon Sep 1 '17 at 14:23
2

Teach her to use a firearm. There's a way you're taught, a long series of rules and rituals, for doing it safely: i.e. for doing that and avoid the possibility of killing someone. IMO something about the recoil on a battle rifle makes it abundently clear, visceral, that it would be lethal and that you never take chances with it -- so for example always check to see if it's loaded when you pick it up even if you "know" it isn't.

I'm conscious when I drive a car, that I'm handling a dangerous and potentially lethal "weapon".

Alternatively, teach her to use a bicycle. I think I've become more sympathetic towards other road users (including cyclists, pedestrians, children, dogs, horses, tractors) since I started to cycle regularly. For bonus points, get her to use clipless pedals ... they're more efficient (make you a better cyclist). Also I'm told you inevitably fall over a few times when learning to use them (usually at zero miles an hour, when you come to a complete stop and forget to unclip in time) ... which, is a good reminder that even a mild accident can hurt a bit, and that an accident at 20 mph would hurt too much.


One more thing, it might be worth telling her that you can't afford to take risks when driving. If she's like me then the thought will occur to her sometimes, "I can probably overtake before the next bend", or, "There's probably nothing stopped in the road just around this next corner", or, "That car that's speeding toward the intersection will probably slow down and stop when it gets there", etc. But "probably" isn't quite good enough. If something has a one-in-a-hundred chance of going wrong, by the time she will have driven for a few decades she will have done it a thousand times. You have to be certain, you have to see the empty road that you intend to drive on, and slow down for a "blind" corner.

Speaking of blind corners, I read once that every line of the Fire Code is "written in blood". What that meant was that, if there's a line in the Fire Code which says that "a basement apartment must have a window big enough to escape through", that's because somebody died when there wasn't one. Similarly if the Traffic Code says "don't park close to an intersection" or "don't overtake a school bus when its lights are flashing", that too is written in blood. Obey the Highway Code, to avoid blood.

Finally, it's one thing to risk her own life; another thing to risk your car, or a fine, or criminal record, or your car insurance. But what she's doing if she's speeding is risking other people's lives, other people's health forever: and they're not hers to risk, she's shouldn't feel entitled to risk them.

  • 1
    An interesting, useful, perspective. – Mister Positive Sep 1 '17 at 13:25
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    I would vote for this again if I could. – Mister Positive Sep 1 '17 at 18:56
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    For a 16-year old who's shown bad judgement with dangerously fast speeding, I don't think it's a very good idea to hand them a gun. She's already been taught about driving safely & didn't, would firearms lessons really turn out any different, aside from a louder noise? – Xen2050 Sep 3 '17 at 1:36
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    @Xen2050 When someone handed me a gun we were given appropriate lessons and supervision. If she sees people are serious about gun safety, she too might learn from them to treat safety seriously; ditto the knowledge that someone (e.g. her dad) sees the (cars and guns) as related somehow. Some of the lessons e.g. "be careful where you point that thing (it's forbidden to risk pointing it at anybody even for fun)" are applicable to both car and gun, so might be mutually reinforcing. – ChrisW Sep 3 '17 at 7:28
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    I agree with everything but teaching her to use a gun. I understand why you're saying it's a good idea and I do agree to an extent, but if she isn't mature enough to recognise why her speeding offence was wrong I'm not sure I'd trust her to obey the rules for wielding a gun. – Pharap Sep 4 '17 at 4:05
2

I haven't seen this answer anywhere above, so I am adding it. You want her to avoid reckless driving, because you understand the consequences of it. She currently doesn't, because she is a child that is transitioning to an adult, and doesn't have the experiences that will cause her also to make the correct choices. I would focus on giving her the experiences that will help her make the right (smart, intelligent, wise) decisions on her own. You want her to see firsthand the consequences of her actions. Now this is not always possible, because such things are somewhat rare in our society. I would take a first aid class with her, then volunteer at the local hospital, hopefully in the ER. Now you may not have time for this, so of course, you may need to adjust the actual execution while keeping the principles intact. But remember, firsthand knowledge is so much more valuable then secondhand or third hand. Of course you can listen to a policeman or judge lecture you on safety, but once you have seen firsthand the devastation that a vehicle can do, you will never forget it, and you will change your behavior. I also think it is critical that it not be considered a punishment, but an experience that you and her are having, so as to improve her education on this critical issue, where it was clearly lacking.

There is an interesting legal and moral principle here. By providing her the means to drive the car, you are actually responsible for what she does with it both legally and morally. It may help to explain that to her, that this incident actually represents a failure in judgement that rests on both of you.

protected by Community Aug 31 '17 at 7:26

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