Driving is a Privilege, Not a Right


Think of a 16-year-old you know. Now visualize that teen driving unsupervised, at night, and on a busy highway. Also keep in mind that teen drivers account for the largest number of car accidents. Scary, isn’t it?

Just because your teen is 16, it doesn’t mean he is ready for his license. On his 16th birthday, something magical does not occur that makes him a responsible and capable driver.

Turning 16 is not the criteria for deserving a driver’s license. Instead, your teen must prove himself on many occasions and in many situations that he is ready to be behind the wheel on his own.

Driving is a huge responsibility that must be learned in steps and practiced over and over.

As soon as your teen turns 16, he will annoy you on a daily basis to get his driver’s license. Hopefully, you and your teen have been spending a lot of time practicing prior to his 16th birthday. If not, then get out there and practice! He’ll never be ready if you both don’t put in the time and effort.

Most states have a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. This means your teen is required to spend time learning how to drive with a licensed driver and he gradually earns more independent driving privileges prior to getting his own full driver’s license.

A common structure for a graduated driver’s license is getting a learner’s permit at age 15, qualifying for an intermediate license while 16-18, and then being eligible for a full driver’s license at age 18. Depending upon your state, the qualifications, procedures, and restrictions will vary. Check with your state’s DMV for details.

While your teen might find these limitations aggravating, you will be more confident in your teen’s driving since he has spent time under the supervision of an experienced driver.

In some states, a teen can go to the DMV and earn a driver’s license without parental consent. Sounds great to an excited 16-year-old, but not so great for the nervous parent!

The best way to avoid an epic showdown with your teen is to explain your intentions as soon as you begin practicing. Explain to your teen that they will not be allowed to get a license until he convinces you that he is ready. You don’t want to spring this information on the eve of his 16th birthday.

Simply explain that you’re worried and nervous about their safety. If both you and your child spend the necessary time together to learn how to drive, there’s no reason they can’t get their license on their 16th birthday.

Photo source: http://flickr.com/photos/dave_traynor/


2 Responses to “Driving is a Privilege, Not a Right”

  1. David Glassman on August 4th, 2009 1:20 am

    Driving is a “right”. The government states we have the right to travel over public roads. However: aside from the legality look at the logic. Only a few cities have functional public transportation in the US. Most of us live in cities that have poor bus services so the ability to get to work or shop can not be accomplished. In Europe one can live in Rome and take the metro (subway) to the train station and then if you wish to Paris or any city in Europe. Out trains are terrible, interstate bus service is filled nasty. Many criminals and illegals use the buses and police are always looking for felons on their routes.

    NO..you are dead wrong..We have a DAMN RIGHT to drive in this country and only stupid bureaucrats wish us to believe this is true. I have a RIGHT! to drive in MY COUNTRY. Only DMV’s wish us to believe its a privlidge. Thats funny…a privilege to travel on broken bridges, pot holed roads and unlit streets. The new budget is to provide billions of dollars to fix the bridges and its stated it will only fix 1/2. I am so angry with people like yourself who teach people how driving is some privlidge. IT IS NOT. In Europe they claim its a right of every citizen of legal age to use the “PUBLIC” roads. If the tax payers pay for these terrible roads than its a right…get it in your idiot brain….A RIGHT.

  2. admin on August 17th, 2009 3:47 pm

    @David – You have a “right” to drive provided that you can operate your vehicle safely. If you are a danger to yourself or others, this right should be rescinded. Therefore, you should treat your “right” to drive as privilege. Remember, you share the roads with your fellow citizens.

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