Parent Rules for Teen Drivers
Top 8 Parent Rules for Teenage Drivers
Although driving is a rite of passage, it is not a right. Driving is a privilege that carries with it great responsibilities. Before your teen driver earns the keys to the car, set firm rules for what is expected and outline clear consequences when those rules are broken.
- No driving under the influence. This includes prescription drugs that may adversely affect driving skills.
- Never ride with a driver who is under the influence.
- Always wear a seatbelt whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
- No cell phone use while driving. That call, text, or social media post can wait.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Drive the speed limit. Make sure to adjust speed depending on traffic, road, and weather conditions.
- No drowsy driving. Sleepy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Make alternate plans for transportation if alertness behind the wheel is in question.
- Restrict the number of teenage passengers. Studies show the risk of fatal crashes with teen drivers increases in direct proportion to the number of teenage passengers in a vehicle.
These rules are not set in stone and may change as the teenager gains more experience and becomes a more responsible driver. It’s important to have clear consequences and rewards if the rules are broken or followed.
Why Should Parents Set Rules for Teenage Drivers?
Setting rules for teenage drivers can help ensure their safety, teach responsibility, reduce liability, and establish trust between parents and their children. Here are several reasons to establish parent rules for teenage drivers:
- Safety: Teenagers are at a higher risk of getting into car accidents due to their lack of experience and tendency to engage in risky behaviors such as distracted driving. Setting rules can help reduce these risks and keep them safer on the road.
- Responsibility: Teenagers need to learn responsibility and accountability for their actions, and driving is no exception. By setting rules and consequences, parents can teach their children to take their driving seriously and understand the importance of following traffic laws and practicing safe driving habits.
- Liability: As a legal guardian, parents can be held liable for any accidents or incidents that their teenage children are involved in while driving. By setting rules and monitoring their driving, parents can help prevent accidents and reduce their liability.
- Trust: By setting rules and following through with consequences and rewards, parents can establish trust with their teenage children and show them that they care about their safety and well-being.
- Gradual freedom: Rules can be gradually loosened as the teenager gains more experience and demonstrates responsibility behind the wheel.
How Parents can Navigate Teen Driving
National Teen Driver Safety Week runs October 15-21, 2023, a national safety campaign that promotes safe driving habits for teen drivers. Bubalo Law PLC supports this safety awareness campaign because of the inherent dangers involved with inexperienced teen drivers. We offer some suggestions on how to keep your teen driver safe as you travel down this new path.
National statistics back up parents’ anguish when teen drivers get behind the wheel of a car:
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year olds
- Teenage drivers have higher crash rates than other drivers due to inexperience behind the wheel, distracted driving, and speeding
- Teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to die in alcohol-related crashes
- Alcohol is involved in nearly one in five fatal crashes involving teen drivers
- Nearly half of all teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a seatbelt
- Speeding is a factor in almost one-third of fatal crashes involving teen drivers
- Death rates from crashes with teen drivers increase with additional passengers in their vehicles
- Most fatal car crashes involving teen drivers occur on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
What Else Can Parents Do To Keep Teen Drivers Safe?
Even though you think they may not be listening or paying attention, parents still remain the biggest influence in their teens’ lives.
- Model good driving habits. Regardless of what you say, your teen will adopt similar driving habits by watching how you drive, and what you do behind the wheel.
- Always wear your seatbelt and insist all passengers wear theirs.
- Do not drive distracted. Practice what you preach and stay off the phone, don’t eat, or engage in other activities while you’re driving.
- Consider placing an app on your teen driver’s phone that prevents phone notifications from sounding while the vehicle is moving.
- Don’t buy a high-performance vehicle for your first-time driver. Inexperience coupled with the speed these vehicles encourage is a recipe for disaster.
- Restrict the number of passengers and the time of day your teen driver can drive.
- Practice driving with your teen driver, or consider third-party driving lessons.
- Sit down and discuss safe driving with your teen driver. Don’t make it a one-time discussion, but an ongoing dialogue about safe driving habits, expectations, and consequences.
Becker Law highly recommends a safety-driving course for all inexperienced drivers, in addition to the training that may be provided by responsible parents, driver’s education classes, and other professional driver’s training skills. Follow the link for a safety course near you, which is sponsored by Tire Rack and the BMW Club of America called the “Street Survival Course.” Finally, we wish you and your teen driver the best as you navigate this journey together.