The teen drive contract – another way of keeping your teenager safe on the roads

For a teenager, learning to drive is both a ticket to freedom and a huge responsibility. And parents with learner drivers would be forgiven for being nervous so it is not always easy reiterating how big that responsibility or the dangers are to an excitable teen. But there is a new trend that may help parents drive home point: Teen Driver Contracts. Designed to show exactly what the rules are and how the car can be used, each family can tweak their contracts to suit their own situation. Below yo will find some suggestions on what you could include in your own.

The Contract

Permission to drive is a privilege and not a legal right. It is granted at the discretion of my parents. I understand that my parents are not obliged to grant it and can withdraw it at any point. I also understand that to be granted this privilege, I have to follow all the rules set out herein.

Driving a vehicle is a serious matter, and I understand that:

  • Car accidents can seriously harm or kill, and any errors that I make, or recklessness that I am involved in could result in the harm or death/s of myself, members of my family, my friends, infants, children, parents of others, and other innocent bystanders.
  • I must follow the national road laws and the limitations of my licence.
  • In addition to the national road laws, I must follow the rules set out by my parents with regards to driving. I acknowledge that they have put together these rules for my safety.
  • The family car/cars is/are the legal property of my parents. Even if I win a car in a competition or receive one as a “gift” I can only drive it with their permission. Under New Zealand law, my parents are my legal guardians and as such they can confiscate any vehicle in my possession until the age of 18. And,
  • The terms of this agreement are subject to change, depending on my ability to handle such a privilege and responsibility. Stricter rules will be put in place should my parents deem it necessary, and driving excellence will be rewarded with slightly less strict rules.

Deal breaker rule

  • Should permission to drive be denied, I will give my keys to my parents immediately, without argument or debate, no matter their reasoning. If I drive against their wishes, this contract is terminated and I will lose driving privileges for six months.

First Tier Rules (which if violated will result in the immediate and indefinite removal of all driving privileges).

  • No alcohol or drugs I understand that I am not allowed to drink any alcohol for 24 hours before driving. I also understand that I am not allowed to drive for a minimum of 72 hours after using any illicit substances which my parents believe will impair my ability to drive. I am aware that drugs are illegal, can be dangerous, and that I should not take them. In some instances, the 72 hour rule will also apply to prescribed medications and I am aware that it is my responsibility to check with my parents when in doubt. Furthermore:
    1. I will not consent to being a passenger in another car if I believe the driver is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
    2. Should the above situation be offered or if I am in any doubt of the sobriety of myself or my designated driver, I will contact my parents or another responsible and predetermined adult to organize alternative transportation. I understand that my parents appreciate honest behaviour and prefer this plan of action, and they will do their best not to interrogate me.
    3. No drugs or alcohol in the car at any time, it is my responsibility to make sure that the car is completely free of any and all drugs and alcohol. I understand that if I am stopped by police and I am under the drinking age or there are drugs in the car, I risk being arrested.
  • No showing off I will not perform any stunts or tricks to show off for my friends. My permission to drive only extends to safe and careful driving from A to B.
  • Communicating any accidents or incidents with police and law enforcement I understand that I must let my parents know about any and all incidents, from accidentally backing into a bollard, to receiving a speeding ticket. I will also promise to give evidence to a criminal lawyer if necessary.

Second Tier Rules (which, if violated will result in the immediate suspension of all driving privileges for up to three months).

  • Curfews as previously stated, I must follow the limitations of my licence. If I hold a full licence, then I will follow the standard curfew that my parents set.
  • Passengers as previously stated, I must follow the limitations of my licence. If I hold a full licence, then I may ask permission for specific occasions. This may be reviewed with time.
  • Only I have permission to drive the car I will not allow anyone else to drive the car that I am driving without explicit permission, which must be renewed every time I need someone else to drive.

Remember, you can be as detailed or lenient as you like. It might even be useful to involve your teenager in the drafting process, so they feel like you have collaborated for a fair deal and you can explain any sore points.

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