What Is a Parent-Child Driving Agreement and What Should It Include?

contract%20signing.jpgParents play a major role in helping reduce the risk of car accidents involving their teenage children. One way parents can do is to bind their child in a driving agreement that clearly lays down the rules and regulations that the teen must follow even before he has obtained a full license.

Many driving safety experts and teen safety advocates recommend the establishment of a parent-child driving agreement between a parent and child. Even the Center for Disease Control provides an example of one such contract.

For a contract to work, both you and your child must sign the agreement which establishes the rules that your child must follow during the term of the agreement. There are a number of rules that you can add as part of the agreement. It is important to establish penalties for violating the terms of the agreement, and equally important to set down rewards when the child complies with the terms of the contract.

There are any number of reasons why teenagers are at a much higher risk of being killed in accidents, compared to adults. For one thing, they are much more likely to engage in distracted driving like cell phone use at the wheel or conversations with fellow teen passengers. They also have much lower seat belt usage rates compared to the adult population. Teenagers are also much more likely to indulge in reckless and destructive dangerous behaviors like driving at excessive speeds. All of these factors must be included in your teenage driving agreement.

Your agreement must first and foremost confirm that your child will drive carefully and cautiously at all times, and behave responsibly and courteously towards other users on the road like drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that you get your child to promise to obey all traffic safety rules, including wearing a seat belt, and making sure that everybody else in his car is also buckled up. The teen must obey all road signs, traffic lights, and street signs, and drive only at posted speed limits. The teen must avoid racing, and must never give rides to hitchhikers.

Have a separate section in your agreement that is specifically devoted to distractions. The teen must switch off his cell phone and electronic devices while driving, and must never eat or drink at the wheel. Be especially careful about drug and alcohol use at the wheel. Your child must promise to never drive when he has had a few alcoholic beverages, and must never allow any alcohol or illegal drugs into the car. He must also drive with passengers who are sober.

You might have your own specific rules that you want to lay down for your teen child, especially about maintaining the car, driving only when he has permission to use the car, and avoiding driving another’s car unless he has specific permission. Add all of these rules to the agreement and stick to it!

The law office of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson and Kennedy, LLP are advocates for safer driving across the state of Indiana. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of unsafe driving, contact them today.