It is a well-known fact that teenage drivers are statistically more likely to be in an automobile accident than any other demographic. Consider a couple of recent statistics:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
- In 2010, an average of seven teens aged 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
- Per mile driven, teen drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.
These statistics are sobering enough on their own, but if you are the parent of a younger driver, they can be downright terrifying. At Hotz and Associates, we aren’t just attorneys… We’re also parents, just like you. One thing that we have tried with our children is to have them sign a New Driver Contract. These guidelines set clear expectations for teenage drivers; in our families, our new teen drivers must read the rules, agree to them and sign the contract, giving us their word that they will drive safely.
A sample contract might look something like this:
I, ____________________________, commit to abide by the following rules and guidelines for safe driving in order to ensure my own safety and the safety of others. I understand that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, and I do not want to contribute to those statistics.
- I will not drive without prior permission from a parent.
- I will drive only vehicles that my parent(s) expressly permit me to drive.
- I will not permit anyone else to drive my car.
- I will not allow more than a total of four people in my car, including myself.
- When I am driving, I and all passengers will wear a seat belt.
- When I am in a car with another driver, I will wear a seatbelt.
- I will not talk on the phone or text while I am driving. No exceptions (including red lights).
- I will not use email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other social media platform while I am driving. And I will not take photos.
- To ensure the above, I will leave my phone in my pocket or purse while I am driving.
- There will be no smoking in the car. No exceptions.
- There will be no alcohol or drugs in any car in which I am a driver or passenger.
- I will not get into a car with anyone (as a driver or as a passenger) who has been drinking alcohol or is under the influence of drugs.
- I will not listen to loud music when I am driving, especially in neighborhoods (out of respect) and in heavy traffic, in inclement weather or in otherwise dangerous road conditions.
- I will not allow anything to be thrown from the car I am driving, and I will never throw anything from a car in which I am a passenger.
- If I experience any problem where I think it would be best not to drive (weather, mechanical trouble, etc.), I will call my parent(s) for help.
- If I am in a compromised position that could jeopardize my safety or the safety of someone else, including but not limited to a violation of any of these commitments, I will call my parent(s) for help.
- I will keep my grades up, because I understand that driving is a privilege, not a right.
- Seriously, I will not use my phone while I’m driving.
In the interest of my child’s safety, if I, ____________________________, receive a call from ________________________ expressing concern about a situation that could pose a danger to him/her or to other drivers, I commit to remaining calm and nonjudgmental. I will help him/her address the situation responsibly and safely. If necessary, I will make arrangements for alternative transportation. I will hold imposing questions and/or corrective action until the situation has been resolved and we can speak calmly in a safe, private location.
The undersigned below have read and agree to be bound by this Agreement.
(teen signature) Date (parent signature) Date
If you want to create a New Driver Contract for your teenager, we have provided a downloadable Word document you can use as a starting point. You may want to add or remove some items and word it specifically for your child, but the important thing is to talk to your child about safe and responsible driving.
Download our sample New Driver Contract