Before you give them the keys
Young Driver contracts or written Safety pledges are very common in the United States. They are growing in popularity in Britain mainly because of the high death and casualty rates among young people.
Your teenager has taken their first step towards adulthood by being able to drive independently. While it can be a relief not to have to ferry your youngster to and fro; their need for lifts at least gave you some control over where they were, who they met and how and when they got home safely.
Why do we need a driving Contract?
- Remember! This is a big deal, you have spent seventeen years protecting this child, and now you are letting them loose with a machine that could kill or injure them, their friends, or innocent people. So treat it with the SERIOUSNESS it deserves.
- They are engaging in an adult activity. So YOU need to treat them as an adult and they need to accept responsibility for their driving as an adult.
- Without some form of deterrent there is a danger that a teenager's newly acquired independence can develop into a risk taking adventure.
- Oral agreements have a habit of being forgotten. Whereas, a written agreement will help reinforce the SERIOUSNESS of driving and leaves no room for ambiguity.
Driver contracts should be discussed and agreed well before your teenager takes their test. The contract between YOU the parent and your son or daughter must form part of YOUR permission for them to learn to drive. Unless YOU take control at this early stage you will have very little chance of influencing your youngster's future behaviour behind the wheel.
It is better that both parents agree on the content of the driving contract before you discuss it with your son or daughter. This way you will show a united front and leave no room for manoeuvre or ambiguity. The most important thing to remember; if you have stated that a particular infringement will result in loss of driving privileges, YOU MUST STICK BY IT, no relenting or the contract is useless.
You need to start with a fairly rigid set of rules that can be relaxed over a period of time provided your teenager acts and drives responsibly. You should aim for a two-year contract with review dates diarised at three monthly intervals. This means that you as parents can sit down with your son or daughter and discuss their driving over the previous quarter which may allow you to either relax or strengthen the rules.
Do not let your teenager drive until he or she has agreed to abide by the contract which must be duly signed and dated. Use the enclosed contract as a guide, we suggest you write your own and personalise it to fit your circumstances.
The signed contract should be pinned up on the kitchen notice board or attached to the fridge door for all parties to be reminded of their commitment.
Young Driver - Parent/Guardian Contract
Young Drivers responsibility
√ Tick the box if you agree X cross the box if you do not
□ I realise that driving is a privilege granted to me by my parents and may be withdrawn at any time.
□ I accept that driving a car is a serious undertaking.
□ I accept that while I cannot control the actions of others drivers, I can control my reaction and response to their driving.
□ I will not use hand gestures, shout abuse, honk my car horn or flash my lights at other drivers.
□ I will seek my parent's permission before carrying passengers.
□ I will keep my seatbelt fastened always and ensure that all permitted passengers wear theirs at all times.
□ I will not carry more passengers than I am permitted or legally entitled to.
□ When I am permitted to carry passengers I accept that it is my responsibility to keep them safe.
□ I understand that speed kills and I promise to observe speed limits at all times.
□ I will not show off or drive in a manner that is likely to endanger me or any other road user.
□ I will drive carefully, defensively and sensibly always.
□ If I make an error I will remain calm and control my frustrations.
□ If I encounter an aggressive driver I promise not to react.
□ I will not let anyone else drive my car.
□ I will abide by all traffic laws and understand that any violations may result in my losing driving privileges.
□ I will not take drugs or drink and drive and understand that any violation will result in my immediate loss of my driving privileges.
□ I will not let anyone influence my driving safely.
□ I will not text or use my mobile phone while driving.
□ I will avoid distractions such as heated passenger conversations or very loud music while driving.
□ I will calmly manage my annoyance towards other drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
□ I will abide by the parking laws and agree to pay any parking fines that may arise from my use of the car.
□ I will check my brakes and car lights daily.
□ I will check the oil, antifreeze and windscreen wash weekly.
□ I will check my tyres weekly
□ I will keep my car clean inside and out.
□ If I am going to be more than _____ minutes late returning home or if I cannot get home safely or if my destination changes, I will call my parents/guardian.
□ I promise to let my parent/guardian know of any concerns that I may have about my car. For example, a strange noise, unusual smells or rattling sounds.
□ I promise to let my parent/guardian know if I get flashed by a speed camera or stopped by a police officer for any reason.
□ I promise to let my parent/guardian know as soon as practical if I am involved in an accident no matter how minor. I will not leave the scene without permission from the police or my parent/guardian.
□ I promise to let my parent/guardian know as soon as practical if I breakdown or have a puncture.
□ I promise not to drive if I feel unwell, overtired, aggravated or upset.
□ If I find myself in a situation where I have consumed alcohol which was unplanned, I promise I will not drive my car and will travel by taxi or seek a lift from my parents.
□ If my parent/guardian deny me permission to drive for whatever reason, I promise to abide by their decision graciously.
□ I understand that if I drive in defiance of my parent/guardian dictate. I will automatically lose my driving privileges' for an indefinite length of time.
□ I/we will listen respectfully and calmly to any concerns or explanations expressed by my young driver regarding the operation of the vehicle under the terms of this contract.
□ I/we will set a good example to my young driver by driving defensively and in a calm and controlled manner and will wear our seatbelts at all times.
□ I/we will obey all traffic laws and abide by speed limits.
□ I/we will never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
□ I/we will not send a text message or use a mobile phone while driving.
□ When travelling in the car driven by my young driver, I/we promise to be respectful and to give any feedback in a calm and constructive manner.
□ I/we promise to ensure the mechanical safety of any car used by my young driver.
□ I/we agree to help you if you breakdown or need a lift home due to unplanned alcohol consumption, feeling unwell or being overtired.
The parties agree to the terms and conditions of this contract and understand that these terms will be revisited quarterly and may be revised solely by agreement between the parties.
Signature of Parent/Guardian Signature of Parent/Guardian
Signature of Young Driver Date
Young Driver - Parent/Guardian Contract
Tips and Advice - Article No67 RoadDriver 2010
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