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Teen roadtrip

Hi cartalk community!
So there’s this 17 year old girl that wants me to go to Kansas City with her and another friend ( we live 200 miles away, about a 3 hour drive). My question is, is this legal for us to go between states, and is it safe enough for me to go? I’m 16.

EDIT: I’m not driving. (Heard males have a higher accident rate than females, so good thing I’m not)

With any valid driver license, anyone can drive through several states. Just check that those states have an age limit that allows your drivers to do so.

What I mean is, should I go and not worry about an accident, or get an adult to drive us? We would drive from Omaha to Kansas City.

We don’t know the following information, but–hopefully–you have some knowledge of the following points:

How much driving experience does the driver have, in terms of both time and miles?

How does this person actually drive?
Is she focused on the road, or does she become very much involved with chatting, eating, and changing stations on the radio?
Is she able to hold the car in the center of its lane, or does she have a tendency to wander around from left to right?
Have you ever seen her talk on a cell phone or text while driving?

Is she a reliable person who takes her responsibilities seriously?
In other words, can she hold a job, and/or is she a decent student?

Is she a known user of alcohol and/or drugs?

Does she use her seat belt when driving, and does she insist that all of her passengers do likewise?

Is her car (including its tires) in good mechanical condition?

In essence, my response is that, if you know this person to be a good driver, with a decent amount of accident-free driving experience, if she is able to concentrate on driving without distractions from cell phone usage and other tasks that should not be taking place while driving, and if her car (including the tires) is in good condition, then you should be reasonably safe.

That being said, the anxiety that you clearly have regarding this potential trip is a possible tip-off to some bad habits on the part of the driver. Instinct is actually a very important and useful part of human nature, and if you have some misgivings about the trip, perhaps it would be best to have an adult drive you.

I think the OP is showing a lot of responsibility in asking the question. I got my driver’s license at 17 and immediately started driving everywhere and I had my own car. I had no problems, but I was one of those kids who knew a lot about cars and had helped my older brothers do car repairs.

I sense the OP isn’t too car knowledgeable and that the other’s making the trip aren’t either. This really is about the driver(s) of the car the 16 year old is riding in. If they tend to be wild, distracted, and irresponsible then don’t go or get a responsible driver to go on the trip.

I’m sure there will be multiple cell phones in the car, so a AAA membership would a good thing also. AAA covers the carrier of the card no matter what car they are riding in, so the 16 year old could have the AAA card if the driver and car owner don’t have one.

This is not a legal issue. Rather are the people in the car responsible enough to operate the car in a safe manner and capable of dealing with a mechanical problem if something goes wrong? Part of the responsibility for safety is on the passengers. It is their job to NOT distract the driver, help with navigation, and recommend taking a break if they see the driver getting tired at the wheel.

I sense the OP would be a good passenger. I’d take the trip but I’d talk to the driver and other passengers to be sure they are going act responsibly and safely. If the OP doesn’t feel safe, then don’t go, or get out of the car somewhere and call home for a ride back home.

@scaredteendriver If you have the slightest doubt about the driver(s) on this trip, don’t go. In my area just this last week 6 teenagers (driver aged 17) in a small car were killed when the driver drove through a stop sign and collided with a fully loaded tanker truck. This in broad daylight and good weather in open country. This was not a skill issue, but a lack of paying attention while driving.

If you do go insist that everybody wears seatbelts at all times. Several college students were recently killed in a rollover accident in NM. The driver walked away, he was the only one wearing a belt. He was lucky not to be injured by the other passengers.

Some southern states had some weird laws about minors leaving the state without their legal guardian. I sure hope that most of those laws are gone by now. But when I got back from Nam and stationed at Ft Campbell KY…a couple of GI’s picked up 2 girls hitch-hiking in KY and drove them to TN. Then went to a motel. The GI’s were arrested for one of those stupid laws about transporting a minor across state line without parents knowledge.

Let me address one thing. Just because males have a higher chance of getting into a crash doesn’t mean that your female friends will necessarily be better drivers than you. It’s just a statistic that says that in general, men in your age demographic are more likely to drive recklessly and get into an accident than the women. But if you don’t drive recklessly and pay attention to the road, you will not be any more of a liability than your female friends. Does that make sense? It’s a generality thing, kind of like saying men are more likely to want to go into the Army than women. While true, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be an officer, right?

with cell phones and such now, I’d be more inclined to think the teenaged girls would be more likely to get involved in a distracted driving accident

This isn’t the place to be asking this question. You should be asking your parents. The girl(s) should also be talking to their parents too.

If the car and driver are legal in the home state and all minors have permission from their parents it’s still a free country. Enjoy it while you can.

Some of you guys are WAY behind the times. Many states have restrictions on 17 yr old drivers limiting their hours of operation and number of passengers under 21. I wouldn’t assume the laws in your home state automatically apply to neighboring states either. Many do not. One example is transporting firearms. Don’t get caught driving through MA with a gun if you’re not licensed here…

I don’t think anyone assumed anything about the laws. I specifically said they should check what the laws are. Each state is different…and they change over the years.

Do your friends still have your probational drivers licenses? I’d imagine that they would be pretty close to getting off the probationary period by now, so you’d probably be okay.

The only thing I would add is keep the doors locked and be careful about what part of town you frequent.

“I don’t think anyone assumed anything about the laws.”

Then you’re not paying attention. Although it’s not the only instance, you need not look further than the post immediately before mine.

What is the purpose of the trip? Are they going to buy drugs? Party? Go to A museum? How well do you know these two gals? Do they smoke? If you dont like smoke and they do its a long ride… tell us more.

These are the requirements for a MO driver’s license.

If she has met these requirements, she is LEGAL to drive in KC Missouri with her Nebraska license:
STEP TWO: Intermediate License

Eligible Age: 16 to 18

You must hold the instruction permit for at least 182 days (beginning the day after issuance).
You may not have any alcohol-related offenses in the last 12 months and no traffic convictions in the last 6 months.
A qualified person or grandparent must accompany you to the license office to verify you have received 40 hours of driving instruction, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving instruction between sunset and sunrise.
You must pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written tests at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station if previous results are more than one year old.
You must pass the driving test at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station.
License Notes:

Your test paper alone is not legal for driving. Be sure to carry your intermediate license with you.
Seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers.
Passenger restrictions outlined below may not be applicable to an intermediate license holder who is operating in agricultural work-related activities.
Driving Restrictions:

During the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is under 19 years old and who is not a member of your immediate family.
After the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than three passengers who are under 19 years old and who are not members of your immediate family.
You may not drive alone between 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. except to and from a school activity, job, or for an emergency, unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
To Graduate to an Under-21 Full Driver License:

Your driving privilege cannot be suspended, revoked, or denied at the time of application.
You may not have any alcohol related offenses or traffic convictions within the last 12 months.

The only problems I see are those about the ages and numbers of passengers that will be along on the trip.

She will be legal and unrestricted to drive anywhere in Kansas at 17.

You didn’t say which side of the state line you’d be travelling to. If you come down I-29, you will enter Missouri.

That said, legal is not the same as safe. Have you ridden with her?

At least one of you should have a GPS or a cell phone equipped with same. KC is an easy town to get very lost in. I’m sure I was 19 the first time I drove through there, after driving through St Louis en route from PA. Getting there is only half the fun. I’ve been lost there many times since over the last three decades.

Mike, that deal about the soldiers taking two young women to a motel across state line, that wasn’t for being minors as much as it was a violation of the Mann act, which makes it illegal to transport any female any age across state lines for (ahem) purposes. They called it white slavery in those days. Today it’s called trafficking. I have never heard the Mann act was repealed.