Dear Abby: My niece, "Amy," got her driver's license last November. Since then she has been stopped six times for violations. Unfortunately, she wasn't ticketed for any of them -- just given warnings. Who knows how many other times she should have been ticketed?
My niece doesn't seem to understand the possible consequences or what serious damage a car can do to her or to someone else. How should I handle this?
-- Concerned Aunt in Massachusetts
Dear Concerned Aunt: Although Amy was old enough to get her license, she is not yet mature enough to handle the responsibility that goes along with driving.
Many states restrict conditions under which a teen may drive a car. In addition, many parents draft a driving contract that stipulates things like what kind of grade-point average their teenager must maintain to keep his or her driving privileges, limiting the number of passengers he or she can transport and certain distance limits.
A version of the following contract has appeared in my column before:
I ( ), agree to the stipulations stated below granting me the privilege of driving. If, at any time, I violate this agreement, my driving privileges will be forfeited.
(1) Should I get a traffic ticket, I agree to pay for the ticket, as well as the difference in the insurance premium for as long as the premium is in effect.
(2) I agree to pay for damages that I incur that are not covered by insurance.
(3) At no time will I ever text or use a cellphone while driving.
(4) At no time will I ever drink alcoholic beverages and drive, nor will there ever be any in my car.
(5) I will not drive the car until I and all passengers have buckled up.
(6) I will keep the car I drive clean, inside and out, be aware of its need for gas, oil, etc., and wax it as needed.
I have read the above agreement and will sign it in accordance with the rules.
I hope you share this with Amy's mother, because in careless hands a car can be as dangerous as a loaded gun.