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Mom's Talk: 16 Too Young to Drive?

What can parents do to safeguard their teens when they take to the road?

My daughter constantly reminds me that her 16th birthday is in December, and that she wants to get her driver's license as soon as humanly possible. She is not unlike most teens across the country who have visions of driving on an open road with a car full of friends, the music blaring from the speakers, and the windows down, with the wind blowing through their hair.

I always reply by saying, "Good luck with that. Talk to your dad." 

I am leaving any and all driving matters up to him, because I already have enough gray hairs and don’t want any part in teaching her how to drive. And if he is not up to the task, we will be splitting the cost of driving lessons. 

I remember wanting to get a ride from my friends who were allowed to drive to school because it seemed much cooler than riding the lame school bus. Plus, the school bus wouldn’t stop at the Burger King drive-through for a breakfast sandwich on the way to school.

Teens these days have many more things to distract them from keeping their eyes on the road, like cellphones and iPods, not to mention the dangers of piling tons of friends into their car. 

But Pennsylvania lawmakers earlier this month passed legislation to make driving safer for teens. Teen drivers in the Keystone State now have limits on the amount of non-family member passengers in a vehicle at a given time. Driving without a seat belt will carry a stiffer penalty for teen drivers and they are barred from texting while behind the wheel. 

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