Driving Contract for New Driver and Their Parents
While obtaining a driver's license is the dream of most teenagers, it can lead to a great amount of anxiety for many parents. For teenagers, a driver's license means freedom, fun, and becoming an adult. For most parents, this event brings images of speeding cars and motor vehicle crashes. There are good reasons to be concerned, as the current statistics regarding young drivers are sobering:
Teen drivers represent less than 3% of the licensed drivers in Maine, but account for approximately 12% of those with serious crash related injuries;
More than 60 young drivers are injured each week in Maine;
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of young people ages 15 to 24 in both Maine and the nation;
In Maine, 15 to 24 year olds comprise 13% of all licensed drivers, but they are involved in 36% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
Most fatalities and injuries among young drivers are the result of driver inexperience and risky driving behavior. Fortunately, both of these issues can be addressed and significantly reduced when parents take an active role in their teenagers' driver education.
Research indicates that parental involvement in a teen's driver education and training can have a significant impact on the success of a young driver on the road. This process is most successful when it is interactive--when parents and teenagers communicate with each other in a respectful and meaningful manner.
The process should begin when teens receive their permits and continue during the first several years the young drivers are on the road. However, for the first few years young people have their licenses, communications between parents and teens are often strained.
One way to increase and improve communication about driving behavior is with a driving contract. By outlining the duties and responsibilities required for operating a motor vehicle, a contract establishes the expectations or conditions the teenager and parent are expected to meet. The contract, therefore, attempts to minimize the ambiguities or misunderstandings that can breakdown vital communication and lead to tragic consequences.
We have provided a sample contract for your consideration. This contract may be changed to meet the needs of any family, and is intended only as a guide. Sections may be added or removed based upon a particular family's concerns.
Everyone involved in licensing young drivers wants them to be safe drivers. Recent improvements to the driver education program, such as the requirement of 70 hours of logged driving time prior to qualifying for a road test, have been effective in placing better prepared young drivers on Maine's roadways. By opening up the lines of communication between parents and new drivers, we can reduce the tragedies that deprive young people of fulfilling of their potential.