How I Got My Son to Sign a Driving Contract
As the parent of a teenage boy who is about to get his driver’s license, I recently began to think about the fact that I have not been specific enough about my expectations and the unyielding rules that will apply to his operation of a motor vehicle. We have discussed that this is a privilege and not a right and that he will soon be in a position where, if he is not careful, he could run the risk of seriously injuring himself, someone else or even worse.We have also discussed the risks that cause most teen driving accidents: inexperience; distracted driving, etc. But there are so many other issues we did not discuss:
- Does he need to maintain a certain grade point average in school to be able to drive and, if so, what?
- What expenses will he be responsible for?
- What restrictions regarding hours of operation, weather conditions and the number of passengers are to apply?
- What are the hard and fast penalties for having anyone enter the vehicle that has drugs or alcohol?
- What are the unyielding penalties if he ever consumes alcohol or does drugs and then operates the vehicle?
- What are the penalties for any moving violation that he receives?
- What happens if he causes property damages or injures someone in an accident?
- What happens if he needs to call for alternative transportation to avoid either riding in or driving a vehicle where alcohol or drugs are involved?
After considerable thought, I decided the best way to memorialize these requirements with no room for misunderstanding was to draft a Parent Teen Driver Contract that sets forth all of the rules and penalties for not following the requirements that are specifically set forth in the contract.
Despite understanding the reasons for its imposition, I was met with the initial resistance in being required to sign a seemingly onerous document. I told my son that he did not have to sign it but that it was a requirement for operating any of our motor vehicles.
After further discussion, it was signed. The contract should provide one more safeguard in making my son a better driver and a more vigilant and defensive operator.
Plus, it will help my wife and me to feel just a little better knowing that we have taken this collaborative step in reinforcing these important considerations.
To download a free copy of the Teen and Parent/Guardian Driver Contract, click here.
— Richard P. Hastings is an attorney at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state of Connecticut.