The good news for parents is that getting a license to drive at 16 is no longer the automatic rite of passage it used to be. If we go back to the 1980's, about half all sixteen-year olds applied for licenses on their birthdays. That reduced to less than 30% in 2010. Ignoring the cost problems, the popularity of the internet and hand-held technology means teens can get together virtually. There's not the same pressure to actually meet each other face to face. At a national level, there's also a significant reduction in the number of miles we drive. This is not a recent phenomenon arising from the recession. The vehicle miles traveled has been falling over the last ten years. That's a welcome relief for parents because the death and injury statistics for teens in vehicles is alarming. When you put beginners into situations where there's a high element of danger, it's hardly surprising they make mistakes and injure each other.
To calculate the auto insurance rates, every newly licensed driver is given inexperience points. Should they pick up a ticket or make a claim, there's an increasing chance they will be forced out of the voluntary and into the assigned risk market. This will almost certainly occur if they are caught drunk or affected by drugs. The only way to loose these points is to go through years without a claim.
When a teen has a driving license, the parents must decide whether to add the name to their family policy. If there's any chance the inexperienced driver may drive a family vehicle, failure to insure will be counted as a form of fraud and the policy will be cancelled. But if the teen buys a vehicle in his or her name, a separate policy can be issued. Naturally, it will be more expensive than adding the name to the family policy, but it does teach responsibility to a young driver when the auto insurance rates react so precisely to the way the vehicle is driven.