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.
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.
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.