Teenage Drivers

The American Automobile Association (AAA) advises parents and teens to write a driving agreement that both sign. This will motivate her to drive safely because she'll know what penalties will be imposed for infractions and what additional privileges she'll earn for maintaining a safe record.

Here are the kinds of requirements AAA and other experts suggest including in your agreement:

  • Obey all traffic laws.

  • Wear seat belts and require passengers to do so also.

  • Never use alcohol or drugs or allow passengers to use them.

  • Never talk on the phone while driving.

  • Pay for ______. (Here you list items such as gas, part of the insurance, traffic fines, etc.)

  • Be responsible for________. (Here you can list keeping the interior clean, washing the car, keeping the gas tank filled to a certain level, etc.)

  • Maintain a certain grade point average. (Good students get discounts on car insurance.)

  • Your teen should tell you where she's going, what route she's taking, and when she'll return. She should phone if she'll be late.

  • Your teen should also phone home for a ride if he's too sleepy to drive or otherwise impaired.

    The agreement also should list penalties for infractions of the agreement.

    The Safest Cars for Teens
    How your child drives is probably as important as what he drives. Chances are high that a teenager driver will be in a collision, so put him in a vehicle that offers the best protection.

    The insurance institute says teens shouldn't drive small cars because they lack the crash protection of larger cars. But you don't have to opt for the biggest car you can find. Many mid-size cars have good safety ratings. Look for newer cars with such safety features as airbags.

    The institute also cautions parents not to let their teens drive unstable vehicles. Sport utility vehicles, especially smaller ones, have higher centers of gravity and are more likely to roll over if a teen over-corrects a driving error. High performance cars aren't good for teens either, because they encourage speeding.

    Don't buy your child her own car as soon as she gets her license. If she has to use your car, you'll have more control over where and how much she drives. Consider a purchase only when she's experienced and has shown that she can handle driving privileges responsibly.

    More on: Teen Driving

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