Linking Driving to Grades?

Parents often want to connect grades and driving.  This usually takes one of two forms.  Form A:  We'll let you get your learner's permit/license if you get X grades.  Form B:  Your grades stink, you can't drive.   The first withholds driving until grades come up.  The latter withdraws driving when grades go down. There's another way which we'll get to in a minute.

I have recommended against incorporating academic performance into a driving contract.  I don't think it often accomplishes what the parent hopes for:  An improvement in Junior's grades.  Further, I think it is best, with this contract, to stay focused exclusively on driving safety.  That said, Form B (see above) makes a bit more sense to me than Form A.  But, I didn't link grades and driving with any of my 3 daughters who, at age 28, 25, and 21, have only had two minor accident among them, one of which was not daughter's fault.  They also made good grades.

Recently I got an email from a parent named Angela Phillips from Florida.  Angela is one smart parent.  One of the few who takes teen driving as seriously as we all should.  Her email contains this very cool suggestion:

Last summer when my son was about to turn 15, we called my auto insurance company and got a ‘quote’ for adding a 16 year old driver on my policy.  We asked for two (2) quotes:  With a student discount rate (and what are the requirements for that) and without the student discount.  As you might imagine, the difference was substantial.  So, we made an agreement with our son that we – the parents – will pay ½ of the ‘good student’ discount rate for his insurance and he will be responsible for the other half.  However, if he doesn’t get the grades to qualify for the ‘good student’ discount rate, we – the parents – are STILL ONLY PAYING ½ the GOOD STUDENT discount rate, and he will have to make up the entire rest of the difference. 

Here’s how it works:  the quote with our carrier on adding a 16 year old male driver for 6 months with the good student discount was $900; without it was $1200.  With our agreement, we (the parents) will pay $450 and our son will be responsible for everything else.  He got serious about his studies in a remarkably fast time:  My son’s grades went from about a 1.9 at the end of 9th grade (just before that phone call to the insurance company) to over a 3.0 by this summer (not cumulative, but for this past year).  Now, we’ve been careful to explain to him that the rates may not be the same this year as they were last year, but having him listen to the insurance rep on the phone last summer and then working the numbers himself really opened his eyes a bit….  Education doesn’t only come from the obvious sources……

 See!  Told you she was smart.

Go back to The Learner's Permit page.

Go back to the Guidelines to Contract page.