To most adults, driving is a casual, everyday activity that they don’t think much about. But to a teen, it means freedom, fun and finally feeling grown up. However, that excitement can turn dangerous if a teen allows all the social and emotional value of driving overtake the practical need to take driving safety seriously.
Creating a parent-teen driving agreement is a practical tool to help your teen understand the dangers of driving and encourage them to prioritize safety.
Combine a parent-teen driving agreement with a family driving app, like Mentor,to help make great habits and greater safety.
What is a parent teen driving agreement?
A parent teen driving agreement is a set of agreed-upon rules and conditions that your teen voluntarily submits to following. It should include:
- Key points of driver safety
- What you and your teen are agreeing to (“I and any passengers I transport will always wear a seatbelt while the car is in motion”)
- Consequences of not following the agreement (“I acknowledge serious injury or death to myself and my passengers could occur during an accident if we’re not wearing seatbelts”; or “No driving for 1 weekend if I neglect to wear a seatbelt while driving”)
You can create your own list or refer to a formal source, such as this sample agreement provided by AllState Insurance.
The point of a driving agreement is to create an opportunity to sit down with your teen to review and discuss some of the most common (and deadly) dangers of teen driving. Commit these key points to paper and have your teen sign to be clear and show your teen that you're serious about driver safety.
Once you’ve created a teen-parent agreement you both agree on, sign it and post it in a visible place as a daily reminder.
You can alter the agreements as your teen proves his or her accountability and learns to be a better driver.
What should a driving agreement include?
Your teen should have already learned the rules of the road, like signaling a turn, during driver's ed. A driver’s agreement should outline key safety issues, especially those that teens are particularly susceptible to, like texting while driving.
When creating your agreement, be sure to cover at minimum the following points:
- Wear seat belts – An easy rule to enforce safety; more than half of all drivers and passengers who die in car accidents aren’t wearing seat belts.
- Avoid speeding – Another easy safety measure; speeding is a cause in 1 in 3 accidents
- No mobile phone use – This means no texting, no mapping, no selecting music, no mobile phone use while the car is moving, period.
- No driving under the influence – We know; every parent wants to assume that their teen isn’t abusing substances, and they might not be! But it’s still important to enforce this rule constantly, whether your teen is driving or riding in another teen’s car.
- No more than # passengers – The more passengers in the car, especially without an adult driver present, the more noise and distractions will occur. Consider limiting to one passenger, at least for the first 6-12 months of driving.
Additional agreements might include:
- No eating while driving – Even experienced drivers should avoid the awkwardness and distraction of eating while driving. Plus, this might keep your car a lot cleaner if your teen doesn’t yet have their own vehicle.
- Select music before setting out – It’s easy to get lost in the task of selecting the perfect music for your drive, especially a passionate teen experiencing freedom for the first time. Encourage your teen to take the simple safety measure of selecting their driving music before starting their journey.
- Limit driving to certain times of the day – Statistically, teen crashes occur between 9pm and midnight. Consider limiting your teen's driving times to daytime hours only.
- No consequences for a safety call – If your teen acts like a teen and messes up, whether they or their friends are impaired, they should feel safe calling home for a pickup without the fear of getting into trouble. They made the wise decision after all. Consider including this as an agreement that you sign.
Documenting the key points of driving safety will help your teen keep them top of mind, while offering you, the parent, some peace of mind while your child is out on the road.
- Improve your driving habits by signing up for IDriveSafely.com's Defensive Driving course
- Read "First Time Drivers: Driving Facts Home So Wherever They Go, They Know" on IDriveSafely.com
- Parents: Refresh your driving skills and sign up for DriversEd.com’s In-Car Driving Lessons