This teen's behind the wheel

August 08, 2013|By Liz Atwood, For The Baltimore Sun

I was surprised to recently read that just over half of American teens get their driver’s licenses before they turn 18.

The cost of buying and maintaining a car is the main reason fewer teens are getting their licenses, according to the study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

I know that pain all too well. My car insurance payment is due in a few days, and it’s not easy picking up the extra cost of insuring a teenage boy. Besides that, it seems like the gas tank is always on empty.

Affordability isn’t the only concern. I know a number of families who withhold driving privileges because they don’t want their kids to be distracted from school work and extracurricular activities.

It’s also really scary to have a teenage driver. I’ve had many white-knuckled rides with my son.

Despite all the negatives, I wanted my son to drive as soon as he was eligible. To me, driving is one of those life skills no one can do without — like swimming and cooking.

I appreciate that he can run errands and drive himself to Scout meetings. He won’t be turned down for a job because he doesn’t have a driver’s license.  And if he has kids of his own someday, he’ll be able to take his turn in the carpool.

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