The Parent-Teen Driving Contract: Putting Safety on Paper

To some parents, the concept of a parent teen driving contract seems gimmicky and silly. To others, it seems too strict. But car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. So, why not put your family driving rules down on paper - especially if your young driver is embarking on a long road trip?

If creating a written agreement with your teen seems silly, consider that we enter into contracts every day over matters that don't involve life and death. We sign leases. We fill out paperwork to get a video rental card. We're constantly putting our intentions down on paper and signing our names.

And if a contract seems too strict to you, think of all the times you tried to skirt your parents' rules by parsing their every spoken word, finding loopholes and choosing not to understand certain elements of standard English.

Yeah. Our kids are far too young to drive, but I'm already thinking ahead to the paperwork we'll hand them when they get their licenses.

I'll probably base it on the parent teen driving contract that one Dr. Dale Wisely has wisely made available online. Check out his site and download the contract. Use it as-is, or adapt it to your needs.

If your teen driver is setting off on a road trip in the near future, please seriously consider putting such a contract in place if you haven't already. And if you already have a contract, you might want to add a "rider" that specifically covers driving behavior on the road trip, since long drives present unique challenges.

Consider:

  • How many hours you want your teen driving each day or week. (You'll also need to give some thought to how many other drivers will be coming on the trip and sharing the load.)

  • How often you want your young driver to take breaks.

  • Whether you want your teen to drive before dawn or after dusk.

  • How sleeping arrangements might affect your young driver's alertness on the road the next day.

There's a lot to think about here. But by putting some rules down on paper, you can keep your teen safe without hampering his or her fun.

New! Comments

What do you think about all this? Leave us a comment below.