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A Driving Contract For Teens

A Driving Contract For Teens

By Mir Kamin

We’ve been talking a lot about teaching your teen to drive ’round here, lately, and so we thought it might be a useful thing to come up with a sample template of sorts for a contract between teen and parent(s) for folks who are into that sort of thing. The following is intended as a starting point; personally use what works for you, change or leave out what doesn’t. (That said, the following is copyright of me and Alpha Mom, so please no plagiarizing to your own website or whatever other medium, because that’s uncool and legally risky for you.) Would you ask your teen to sign a driving contract? Do you feel like something important is missing from this one? Hit me up in the comments with your feedback.

* * * * * * * * * *

PARENT-TEEN DRIVING CONTRACT

So as to be crystal clear about rights, privileges, and responsibilities surrounding learning to drive, and then being a license-holding teen living at home, and hopefully to avoid anger, misunderstandings, or danger, the following contract is set forth between __________________________ [henceforth referred to as Teen] and __________________________ [henceforth referred to as Parent(s)].

I. During The Learning Process

Teen agrees to:
A) Follow basic household rules to earn the privilege of time behind the wheel, such as being polite and respectful, keeping up with school responsibilities, completing chores, etc.
B) Listen and respond to supervising driver immediately and without question. If there is a matter for debate, first the instruction is to be followed, and once the car can be removed from the roadway and stopped, then the matter can be discussed. Failure to follow directions immediately will be grounds for suspension of driver training.
C) Treat the learning process as the mastering of a complicated and possibly life-endangering task, because it is. This means no radio, GPS, or other distractions, however minimal, until the supervising driver deems such added inputs acceptable.
_____ (initials)

Parent(s) agrees to:
A) Offer copious instructional time (provided that Teen meets the above criteria). If Parent(s) is unwilling or unable to serve as primary driving instructor, a suitable replacement will be found. Additionally, Parent(s) agrees to pay for Driver’s Ed if formal instruction is desired.
B) Be helpful, encouraging, and mindful of the fact that learning to drive is hard, and no one ever got better at it by being screamed at or otherwise berated. Calm is the name of the game.
C) Honestly assess both the Teen’s level of skill and difficulty of a given driving situation in deciding when practice is safe, slightly challenging, or ill-advised.
_____ (initials)

II. Once Teen Is Licensed

Teen agrees to:
A) Never text and drive.
B) Follow all rules of the road, including adhering to any license restrictions (number of passengers, time-of-day driving, etc.). Should a driving violation occur, Teen will immediately inform Parent(s).
C) Seek alternate transportation or delay driving if not mentally safe to do so. This includes—but is not limited to—being inebriated or otherwise chemically altered, being exhausted, or being overly emotional and unable to calm down. Teen further agrees to call Parent(s) if facing one of these situations while out with the car. In the unlikely event that Teen cannot reach Parent(s), another responsible adult will be consulted.
_____ (initials)

Parent(s) agrees to:
A) Trust Teen to make good choices per this agreement and general good faith until proven otherwise.
B) Provide a pick-up (or arrange for alternate safe transportation) at any time, anywhere, no questions asked, if/when Teen calls due to inability to drive safely. Any discussion pursuant of the circumstances surrounding such a situation will be tabled until the following day, and bearing in mind that the responsible choice not to drive was made.
C) Respond with appropriate wrath and/or revocation of Teen’s license if the above conditions are violated, but also with the understanding that mistakes happen and any consequences enacted as a result of said mistakes should be time-limited.
_____ (initials)

III. Car Rights, Responsibilities, And Finances

Teen agrees to:
A) Treat Parent(s) car as a loan of privilege, because it is. This means sometimes running boring errands for Parent(s) in return for the use of the car.
B) ‘Fess up immediately if any damage occurs to said borrowed car while in the Teen’s possession.
C) Discuss the finances and logistics of acquiring own car while living at home, and respect Parent(s) position. (Read: Do not expect to be gifted a car just because you got your license.)
_____ (initials)

Parent(s) agrees to:
A) Use but not abuse the “can you run and get a gallon of milk for me” clause once Teen is often borrowing car.
B) Not freak out if the car is scratched or otherwise damaged, and to find an appropriate, workable solution should repairs be needed.
C) Be reasonable about the finances involved in having a licensed teen driver (see below).
_____ (initials)

Finances:
Teen will / will not pay for own gas when using Parent(s) car. (circle one)
Teen will pay in full / will pay a portion / will not pay for own insurance coverage when using Parent(s) car. (circle one)
Teen will / will not be allowed to acquire own vehicle while living at home as a minor. (circle one)
Teen will pay in full / will pay a portion / has a fairy godmother for purchase of own car. (circle one)
_____ (initials) _____ (initials)

Teen recognizes that even if in possession of own car, while living under Parent(s)’s roof, Parent(s)’s rules may result in removal of driving privileges if this contract is violated. Bottom line: Be good.
_____ (initials)

Mir Kamin
About the Author

Mir Kamin

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now ...

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now her life looks very different than it did back then: Those little kids turned into anything-but-regular teenagers, she is remarried, and somehow she’s become one of those people who talks to her dogs in a high-pitched baby voice. Along the way she’s continued chronicling the everyday at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, plus she’s bringing you daily bargain therapy at Want Not. The good news is that Mir grew up and became a writer and she still really likes hanging out with her kids; the bad news is that her hair is a lot grayer than it used to be.

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Comments

  • Jennifer

    This is awesome!  I thought it was great and while my daughter is not yet remotely old enough I will definitely be using some form of this in the future!

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  • meri

    perhaps add a line about never returning the car with the gas tank empty? (Guess who had no gas last week?)

    In addition to not texting, I would also add not talking on the phone while driving. It’s been shown to have an increased mental load when compared to talking with people in the car. They didn’t know why the last time I read about it.

    It’s hard when we’re so trained to answer the phone. I find it easier when I turn off the ringer and bury it in my purse, unreachable.

  • Katherine

    We had an explicit discussion about traffic tickets and insurance as well. As in, any tickets you get are your responsibility to pay and if it should cause our insurance to increase, then you are to pay the increase as well.