Parenting the Teenage Driver: A Model Contract

By: Dale Wisely, Ph.D.


More teenagers die due to motor vehicle accidents than any other single cause.  Apart from the risk of death is the risk of injury to the teen driver, passengers, and others.  Driving can also become a financial burden to the family, a burden which can become a crisis in the event of an accident

Guidelines for use

Why do a driving contract?

The first step in this process is important and often the most difficult.  It is that you reflect carefully on the problem and firmly resolve to do all you can reasonably do to prevent this from happening.

Establish with the teenager, in advance, your firm determination to reach an agreement prior to their driving.  You must be willing to state (and mean) that you will not allow the teen to drive until an agreement is reached and signed.  State this...and then be willing to ride out the storm of teenage protest.

Use this agreement as a a starting point and revise it for you and your teenager.  You should make changes to personalize this agreement!

If possible, if two parents are involved, parents should reach an agreement about the contract before it discussed with the teenager.

DO NOT ALLOW A TEENAGER TO DRIVE INDEPENDENTLY UNTIL THE AGREEMENT IS NEGOTIATED, WRITTEN, REVISED, AND SIGNED!  DON'T LET YOUR TEEN DRIVE WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT.  HANG TOUGH!!  It may be wise to negotiate some of the details of some of the points.  If your teen makes a reasonable counteroffer, consider it.  BUT INSIST ON AN AGREEMENT IN WRITING.

Sign it, provide a copy to the teenager.  Set a date to revise it after a period of time during which the teen drives.  Schedule the review date and put it on the calendar.  On this review date, go through it and change the agreement a little (or a lot) based on experience.  Make it stricter if the teen's behavior with the car warrants that.  Make it a bit more lenient, perhaps, if the teen is doing well.  START WITH A FAIRLY STRICT CONTRACT.    

Download the Model Contract below:

Word Format

PDF Format

You can find more information on parenting teen drivers at Dale Wisely's web site -

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