Why You Should Have a Parent-Teen Driving Contract

New teenage drivers and their parents expect a lot from each other. Parents want their son or daughter to show responsibility, follow the rules, and stay safe. Teens want their parents to teach them to drive and maybe even buy them something with four wheels and a giant bow for their 16th birthday.

Both sides are gonna want to come to an agreement on how this new, dangerous-yet-amazing thing (driving!) is going to fit into their lives. What should a loving, trusting, tight-knit family do to make this a reality?

Get it in writing.

It may sound overly formal to have a contract regarding driving and vehicle maintenance, but it’s actually a great way to make sure everybody is on the same page. If young drivers know which rules they have to follow and what the consequences will be for breaking them, the result will be safer driving (and less stressed out parents).

And don’t worry — Aceable has written a sample Driving Contract that’s 98% free of legal lingo. Add or change the terms to fit your family’s budget, values, and patience with lists of bullet points.

A driving contract keeps both parents and teens clear on expectations.

Driving Contract

The purpose of the following terms and conditions is to define the responsibilities of both the parent(s) and teenager related to driving and vehicle ownership.

Parent(s) Agree to:  

  • Purchase or provide a car. This car will remain officially owned by the parent(s) but will be used on a day-to-day basis by the teenage driver.
  • Allow their son or daughter to borrow the family vehicle with permission
  • Cover regular vehicle maintenance costs for as long as the young driver is in school. Examples: brake repairs, tire rotation/replacement, oil changes, radiator and transmission flushes, etc.
  • Arrange for car insurance under the family’s policy
  • Provide a sober ride home upon request and not punish the teen for drinking in exchange for him or her making the safe choice not to drink and drive.

Teenager Agrees to:

  • Drive safely and follow all traffic laws
  • Wear a seatbelt during every drive and insist passengers do the same
  • Follow the terms of the provisional license, including:
    1. Not driving with more than one passenger who is under age 21 and not a family member
    2. Not driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless it is necessary for attending work or school activities, or in case of emergencies
  • Not drive faster than the posted speed limit
  • Never use a cell phone, including hands-free devices, while driving (except in emergencies) until the age of 18 as required by law
  • Never text while driving
  • Drive mindfully to minimize wear-and-tear on the vehicle
  • Report any unusual sounds, warning lights, or suspicions of car problems promptly
  • Check the tire pressure every month
  • Practice changing a tire and checking the oil at least once
  • Never drive after using alcohol or drugs
  • Never ride with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Pay for any traffic tickets and any increase in car insurance costs resulting from violations
  • Keep the interior and exterior of the car clean
  • Provide rides to sibling(s) at the parent’s request
  • Never give rides to passengers not approved by a parent
  • Not drive when sleep deprived or upset
  • Not turn the music up too loud to hear noises from the street or the car
  • Not let anyone borrow the car without parent(s) permission
  • Maintain satisfactory grades and attendance at school
  • Fulfill all household responsibilities
  • Not drive in severe weather conditions

Failure on the teen driver’s part to comply with any of the terms listed above may result in the vehicle or driving privileges being taken away. Penalties may last for any period of time deemed fit by the parent(s).

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