Half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. The more you know, the more you can do to prevent these crashes.
Laws Aren’t Enough – But Household Rules Can Come Close
No state has laws strong enough to fully protect new teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws.
A Contract to Drive
A written, signed agreement (some call it a contract) with your teen is a great way to help to reduce crash risk. Make sure you set clear expectations and that you both understand how these expectations can change over time. Restrictions should be set early in the process and relaxed later as your teen gains more experience.
NEW DRIVER DEAL
Top of Form
I, _______, agree to discuss and follow the rules below. I understand there will be consequences if the rules are broken.
Every three months, I, ________, may gradually relax these rules as _________, continues on the road to full driving privileges, if I decide it is safe to do so.
- I will always tell an adult where I am going and when I expect to return. I understand I will not be allowed to have any passengers at first, but when I earn the right to drive with passengers or as allowed by law, I will tell the adult who they are.
- I will always use a seatbelt, whether I’m a driver or a passenger. I will not drive a car if my passengers (when I am allowed to drive them) are not wearing seatbelts.
- I will always obey speed limits and all traffic laws and signs. If I break the law, I will be responsible for any traffic or parking tickets and any court costs.
- I will never use a phone—either hand-held or hands-free—while driving.
- I will never eat while driving.
- I will never drive unless I am alcohol and drug free, and I will never allow alcohol or illegal drugs in the car. I will not drive if I am taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that could impair my driving.
- I will never drive anyone else’s car unless I have an adult’s permission.
- I will never drive if I am angry, upset or tired.
- I will contribute to the cost of operating the car as agreed (insurance, gas and maintenance).
- I will invite an adult to ride with me once each week to see how my driving skills are improving and/or to practice specific driving skills with me.
Driving at night
I agree I will not drive after 9 p.m. (or earlier if specified by state law). I may earn the right to add an hour to that limit every three months at an adult’s discretion (and as allowed by state law). Reassess after.
I agree I will not text or use my phone while driving. I agree I will not use headphones or play loud music. I agree my music playlists or GPS destinations may be set only when the car is parked.
I agree I will not drive with any passengers. I may earn the right to add a passenger under certain conditions, and if state law permits, after six months. Reassess after.
I agree I will spend the first three months after I get my license driving in optimal conditions. More challenging weather conditions may be added gradually after three months of driving. Reassess after.
I agree to limit my driving to roads I am familiar with in my town, and after three months, I may earn the right to drive regionally and later on highways. Reassess after.
I agree if I break any part of this agreement may limit my right to drive by a period of week(s).
Teens Crash Because They Are Inexperienced Drivers. Contrary to popular belief, teens crash most often because they are inexperienced. They struggle judging gaps in traffic, driving the right speed for conditions and turning safely, among other things.