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Parent-Teen Driving Contract… Could It Help?

Hi.  Something’s been heavily on my mind the last couple of months…  As I go about the day-to-day operation of my insurance agency, I’m constantly reminded of it.  

There’s been at least five tragic deaths of teens and young adults in my immediate neighborhood within a short time frame.  I don’t read obits, and hardly have time to pay attention to the headlines, but these serious and deadly accidents have definitely not gone unnoticed.       

You and I know it IS our worst nightmare.  You get the call…  Your child has been killed in an auto accident. 

I know it’s something I STILL worry about, and my kids are 26 and 29.  I do worry less since they are older now and more experienced behind the wheel.  But as a parent I still think about it occasionally.  It’s part of being a parent, I suppose…      

Driver distraction and inattentive driving, lack of defensive driver skills, and yes, irresponsible behavior.  And how much strength does it take to admit, “Yes, my child was killed in an auto accident, due to his/her own recklessness.”?  These are certainly words I could not utter to anyone very easily.      

And although we know much of this unnecessary heartbreak and pain can be avoided, the cycle continues.  I’ve had my share of my own “occurrences” during my teen years.  And looking back, I can say without a doubt even then… in the age of 8 track tapes (playing loudly of course) and WITHOUT a mobile phone, the issues were the same.      

So in my own small way, when I’m talking to a parent and adding their 16 year old child to their auto policy as a driver, I also talk to them a little bit about “the human side”.  Not just the cost of the insurance, the protection it affords, and all the insurance jargon that seems to eclipse the real underlying concern… “How do I get my kid to be as responsible as he/she can be, behind the wheel?”.      

I hand out the Teen Driving contract which is agreed to and signed by both the parents AND the new driver.  Yes, it’s just a piece of paper both parties sign, but hopefully when faced with decisions and choices, your young driver will think about that signed agreement, and remember what it means.      

The contract is available in our Library section.  Feel free to use it as is, or make any changes to it which may better suit your family’s preferences.      

It’s a reminder of one’s responsibilities behind the wheel, and that driving a vehicle is DEFINITELY a privilege and NOT a right.      


Brian Matthias