Many teens fall under the impression that being able to drive is a right they are entitled to after meeting the legal age requirement. However, driving should be viewed as a privilege instead of an entitlement. Setting rules for teens prior to allowing them certain privileges helps clarify any misconceptions they may have. It is a huge responsibility that requires a teen to have a certain level of maturity. While handing a set of car keys to a teen, parents sometimes feel unnerved, like they are giving up all control. However, drawing up a formal driving contract may alleviate some of that anxiety and keep you teen safe.
Teen driving contracts must address all terms associated with using the car and driving safety as well as the consequences for breaking any of those terms. Be sure to emphasis that driving is a privilege that is contingent upon demonstrating responsibility and compliance. Specifics on car care, maintenance, and insurance should all be incorporated into a teen driving contract. Plus, issuing safety rules is particularly important.
In addition to following traffic laws and wearing a seat belt, there are many safe driving rules that need to be discussed and contracted with your teen. Texting while driving, talking on the phone, and teenage drinking and driving are extremely dangerous, particularly for under experienced drivers. Driving contracts should forbid both of these activities. Additionally, impaired driving is the main cause of death for high school students. Discipline for any drug/alcohol use should include immediate revoking all driving privileges. Other safety concerns may involve curfew or who is allowed as a passenger in the car.
Teen driving contract must be agreed upon and signed by your teen before handing over the keys. Most teens are so excited to get behind the wheel that they are motivated to comply with rules and practice safe driving. Teens who sign driving contracts fully understand the behaviors that are expected of them.