Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Third Ticket (originally posted in January 2013)

Phone rings about 9:00 last night.  Sniffling daughter on the other end of the line.  Never a good sign.

“Momma?..............I got a ticket.”  This would be her third moving violation.  She was following another car through a stop sign, on the way to help out a friend who was having an emergency, and didn’t really stop before following the other car through the intersection.  She’s gonna be out about $240.00, which takes a while to earn working at minimum wage.  Bummer.  Lets not even talk about our car insurance, OK?

Now there are two things you need to know about Ellie.  The first is that Ellie is a pretty responsible 19-year-old human.  She’s prone to impulsivity - sometimes with interesting results - but she gets her school work done, studies regularly, does well at work, keeps her apartment clean, monitors her finances religiously, and takes good care of her cat.  The second is that she loves her car, and she loves to drive.  She has a Honda Accord V6 sedan, well used, with a ton of stickers on the back.  She has installed a killer stereo (we call her “thump bunny”), auxiliary lighting inside and out, and does her own brakes.  She took auto shop in high school.

One of the very first times Ellie drove the car alone to school she got stopped, and we received the first one of these sniffling telecommunications.   It was a trip she had made several times.  That time she didn’t get a ticket, and pulled the classic scene titled, “But officer, I forgot to take my ADHD medicine.”  That was almost three years ago on a morning she had an assignment due and was leaving on a class trip to Italy.  That time we learned to make sure she takes her meds before getting behind the wheel, and to make sure she had plenty of spare time to get where she needed to go when there was a big event driving.  All of that was before I read very much about driving and ADHD.

When it comes to driving and ADHD, responsibility intersects with allowances for disability. It should be well biased towards the responsibility side.  After all, in the main, everyone needs to stay safe on the road.  Should I not allow my daughter to drive because she has ADHD and is prone to impulsivity?  Well, if she drove so badly that she got enough points to lose her license, she knows she’d be riding her bike to work and school.  No excuses there.  But she’s not reckless, doesn’t drink and drive, and is not aggressive behind the wheel.  She sometimes exceeds the speed limit.  I know I have to acknowledge that she’s going to have occasional problems with tickets. She knows that she has to take medicine to drive.  I will have to worry about her more than I would like when she's behind the wheel.  Having to part with hard-earned cash for tickets and high insurance will keep her mindful.

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