Written by Bethany Todd, in Collaboration with Laura Barr
The day a child gets his or her driver’s license, parents often feel fear, pride, and excitement. Parents are no longer the taxi driver, delivering everyone to and from practices and school, yet now they also have to deal with the dreaded weight of knowing their child is driving on the road, and vulnerable.Parents often contemplate whether to buying or not buy their child a car, weighing cost, responsibility and reflection their own “first car” experience.
No matter how you feel, parents typically understand that this new status should not be taken lightly. Your child is not only responsible for their own safety, but also for the safety of other drivers and the vehicle. It is appropriate to help our children understand the weight of this new responsibly by providing boundaries and guidelines for car use.
While modeling good driving and having continual conversations about driving safety are effective for teaching children responsible driving, we have found that creating a Parent/Teen Driver Agreement works best for teaching children rules about driving and holding them accountable for car use. The driver agreement also aids in continually communicating the weight of the responsibly and consequences of misuse. Below is a sample agreement. Consider showing your teen the sample agreement and getting their input on personalizing their own. They may be more strict with themselves than you would anticipate.
Sample Driver Agreement
- John will honor all of the rules Master Drive taught him to be a responsible driver
- Texting and driving will result in loss of use of car. Put the phone AWAY!
- John will never drink or drive or get high and drive or will never have privileges to drive a car until he is 18, when he can buy his own car and pays his own insurance.
- John must ask permission to use the car and make plans before taking the car, and be willing to run errands along the way when time.
- John has $1,000.00 in his bank account and if he crashes the car that deductible will be used towards insurance for repairs.
- John understands that having a car is not a right, but a privilege. This means that he understands he is responsible for running pre-arranged errands and driving his sister to school every day.
- Your father and I will pay for a percentage of gas for driving to school, driving errands and driving your sister.
- John will not drive any more than 1 person in a car until further notice or with specific permission.
- John will upkeep his car with financial support by keeping car clean, paying attention to oil, strange noises and general cleanliness and tires safety.