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6 Tips to Scare Your Teenager to Slow Down

Every parent with kids feels both a sense of fear and relief when their children are able to obtain a license. Fear that they won't be responsible and drive safely, and relief because all of those taxi rides take up a lot of time! So how do you drive home that driving dangerously can cost much more than a speeding ticket or a required defensive driving course? Well, sometimes fear isn't such a bad option. We're not saying you should stop at the scene of every two car mash up or ten car pile up and hope for blood and guts so Johnny or Suzy will slow down and stop fully at stop signs instead of slowly rolling through.

But there are some real life lessons that can be shared in vivid detail in order to get your new (or newly ticketed) driver to slow down.

1. Fines

So what's the probability of getting caught if you speed in the United States. While it certainly varies from state-to-state and county-to-county, overall 16.6 percent of ALL DRIVERS get a speeding ticket each year. That is one in six. Ask your teen how many friends they have to get across the probability.

States with the Most Tickets Issued

1. Florida 2. Georgia 3. Nevada 4. Texas
5. Alabama 6. Missouri 7. New York 8. North Carolina
9. New Jersey 10. Louisiana 11. Arizona 12. Mississippi
13. California 14. Maryland 15. Iowa 16. Washington
17. Oklahoma 18. South Carolina 19. Indiana 20. Tennessee
21. Illinois 22. Ohio 23. Kansas 24. Michigan
25. Colorado 26. Delaware 27. Minnesota 28. Virginia
29. Massachusetts 30. Pennsylvania 31. Connecticut 32. Arkansas
33. Wisconsin 34. Vermont 35. Kentucky 36. New Hampshire
37. Hawaii 38. Rhode Island 39. Utah 40. Oregon
41. New Mexico 42. Nebraska 43. Idaho 44. West Virginia
45. Maine 46. Alaska 47. South Dakota 48. North Dakota
49. Wyoming 50. Montana


Most teenagers have a lot of wants. A car, designer clothes, going on dates, senior trips, and other rights of passage for up-and-coming adults. As with most things in life, most of these wants cost money. If your teen is ambitious he or she may have a part time job after school or on the weekends to help pay for these items and to save a little for college or other future expenses. Speeding fines can put a huge dent in all of those spending and savings plans. The average speeding ticket in the United States cost $150 - $200 - that's AVERAGE. Get caught going more than 10 mph over the limit and it will likely be more. In some states, such as Georgia, there are super speeder laws. Under this law another $200 is tacked onto your local fine if you are caught going over 75 mpg on a two lane road or over 85 mpg anywhere in Georgia.

2. Higher Insurance Costs

Building on your initial argument about speeding fines you can now go straight into a discussion about the concept of rising insurance premiums. Insurance companies are VERY aware of the fact that teen drivers are high risk drivers as a group. In years past boys were significantly more of a risk than girls, but that is no longer the case. Young female drivers are now more likely to speed than boys. All of this adds up to higher insurance costs. The average cost of that increased premium? $300 a year.

Premium increases are only one part of the problem, and if your teen is lucky that is the punishment the insurance carrier will bestow on them. If they aren't so local the insurance carrier may issue a non-renewal notice all together. What is that? At the end of each policy period the insurer has the option to drop your policy. If your teen is a speeder, in the worst case scenario, they could end up having to go through your state's assigned risk pool. This pool is for drivers that insurers refuse to insure. Your teen would have to commit a pretty awful offense to get there, but cost wise he or she would be looking at several times the cost of their current policy and that may end up making the cost of a pair of Nike's a lot more attractive to you as a parent.

3. Car Repair Costs

Speeding leads to accidents. It's been proven over and over, time and time again. Beyond the obvious fear of bodily injury and death caused by car accidents fender benders can be damaging to the wallet. A simple fender bender, literally only damaging the bumpers, generally runs from $1000 to $3000 to repair. Plus you have those pesky insurance premium increases again which will be steep for any teen driver in an accident - especially one caused by speed or negligence on their part.

Keep this in mind in regard to insurance and repair costs. Many of us have increased our deductible in an effort to lower your premium - a totally legitimate cost saving measure. You may, however, wish to reconsider this if you have a teen driver as they are at a much higher risk for accidents. As always, if there is an accident, be sure to get multiple estimates for repairs and ask around about reputation. As the materials for new cars become more complex due to mile-per-gallon requirements they also take more skill to fix correctly.

4. Accident Statistics

Accidents are a part of driving for many people at some point in their lives. Most accidents are not fatal or major. However, teens should be very aware of the fact that driving is dangerous. In 2009 according to the US Census Bureau there were 33,808 deaths and 2,217,000 injuries caused by the operation of motor vehicles in the United States. Those deaths and injuries involved 9,534,000 vehicles. Those are large numbers. Out of those 33,808 deaths 10,591 were related to speeding. More alarming is the fact that most fatal accidents occurred at speeds over 55 mph and the next largest category as 45 mph on non-interstate roads - these are the roads a teen is most likely to be driving on. Perhaps more disturbing than speed is the fact that 4,898 of those crashes were caused by distracted driving - a problem that is extremely prevalent among teen drivers due to the advent of smartphones and other electronic devices. So, the take aways here: tell your teens not to speed and regardless of how fast they are going they should never touch their phones while driving.

5. Loss of Driving Privileges

Little is more devastating to a teen with a license than the shame in having to walk again because Mom and Dad took away the car. With the advent of modern day technology it is relatively easy, if not mildly creepy, to track your kid's driving speeds. So how do you avoid the creep factor? There's an app for that! Seriously. Check out the SpeedBump app for Android that helps parents monitor the average speeds of teen drivers. This app isn't a spy app, it facilitates discussion and monitoring on an open basis. Teens and parents can sit down and discuss the speed limits on roads, parents can set acceptable speeds, and they will only be notified when those speeds are broken. We don't advocate for this particular app, but it is a great example of what is available to help parents monitor new teen drivers. With an app and a daily report it is very easy and objective to set rules for the loss of driving privileges for your teen.

6. Parents Who Drive Poorly

No, we're not suggesting you go out, max out your engine, and impart the dangers of speed on your teenager by scaring them to death with Mario Andretti style turns and rubber burning. The point here is that it is next to impossible to tell a teenager (or anyone for whom you are an authority figure for that matter) to behave one way while they watch you dismiss your own demands for your own personal behavior. The point? Behave the way you expect your teenager to behave and start behaving that way long before they go to get their permit. If you set a long term example of safe driving habits and reasonable speeds you will be much further along in your quest to keep your kid safe on the road.


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