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Create a Teen Driving Contract With Your Soon-to-be Drivers

Every year nearly 5,000 young drivers are killed in automobile accidents in the US, and a staggering 300,000 more are injured or maimed. Car accidents account for nearly 40% of the total number of deaths for teens ages 15 to 19, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The National Institute of Child Health has created a program called The Checkpoints Program, which teaches parents to limit teen driver's exposure to certain dangerous driving conditions for the first 12 months after recieving their license.

The central theme of the program is the creation of a teen driving contract, a written agreement between the parent and the teen driver that specifically addresses the limits to driving privledges, the consequences if those limits are ignored.

"This study shows that parents who set reasonable limits on driving can reduce their newly licensed teens' exposure to risky driving conditions," said NICHD Director Duame Alexander, M.D.

Specific risky behaviors to restrict:

  • - Driving with other teens in the car
  • - Driving at night
  • - Driving in bad weather
  • - Driving on high speed roads

The Success of Graduated Drivers' Licensing Laws

Graduated Drivers' Licensing (GDL) is becoming law in many states. GDL's generally restricts nighttime, expressway, and unsupervised driving during initial stages, but lifts these restrictions with time and further testing of the individual, eventually concluding with the individual attaining a full drivers' license. In states where GDL's are required, accident fatalities for teen drivers has dropped by up to 30%.

Wether or not you live in a state with a current GDL law, you can create your own teen driving contract based on the same principles that make GDL's successful.

It's important to talk to your teen about the rules of the road, to clearly set your expectations of them, and outline the consequences of failing to meet your expectations.

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