Teens and Cars: Don't Let Them Have Their Own

teen texting while drivingA lot of CafeMoms say they allow their teens to own their own cars. Most either make their children earn the money to buy one themselves, or they purchase a reliable used vehicle and require them to pay for the gas and insurance.

That's pretty much what my parents did -- we went halfsies on the purchase. And that's great for convenience and independence, but there's a drawback to letting your teen have their own car, especially in their first year as a new driver.

Teens who own their own cars, or who are the main driver of a vehicle, are much more likely to get into a fatal crash that kids who ask their parents to borrow the car keys.


You might have read about this new teen driving safety research from the experts at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the news this week. The gist is something akin to "kids of authoritative parents who impose lots of rules and support at the same time are much less likely to engage in reckless driving behavior like driving drunk, talking on cells, and other habits likely to lead to fatal crashes. They are also more apt to exhibit good habits, too, like wearing seat belts and driving the speed limit."

Makes sense, when you think about it. If Bobby can come and go as he pleases in his own car, he's going to feel a greater sense of power and control than if he has to ask Mom's permission to drive first. Mom will likely have some say over where he's going, when he's going to come back, who he drives with, etc., if it involved her own car.

So it's all about rules and talking, the cornerstone of all good parent-teen relationships.

Teen drivers scare me, frankly. In our town, they rarely stop for me and my kids in the crosswalk and they love to run red lights. I'm generalizing, for sure, but there is some truth to it. I remember my brazen days as a new driver all too well.

Do you believe teens should own or use their own car during the first year of driving?


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