GJEL’s Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract
This contract is intended to help initiate conversation about roadway safety, especially for teen drivers and their passengers. The agreement covers six areas pertaining to distracted driving, driving under the influence, driving a vehicle with minors, speeding and other rules of the road, and auto accidents. Each section includes specific pledges to prompt family discussion, and we suggest parents and teens sign to seal the agreement.
Ideally, parents and teens should come to an agreement about an award that the teen driver will receive if each of the sections of the contract are obeyed. This way, the contract will serve the interests both of parents and their teen driver. For parents, it will provide insurance that their teen driver will obey the rules set by police and family authorities. For teens, it will help them drive safe and also serve as a road map toward the reward that has been determined in discussion with their parents.
Recent scientific studies have shown that even if teenagers intend to stay safe behind the wheel, the chemistry of teen brain development prevents this outcome in certain circumstances. The brain’s frontal lobe, for example, the section credited for motor skills and avoiding risks, develops last, meaning that it is not fully mature during the teenage years. The parent-teen safe driving contract can help assure that despite their brain chemistry, the teen driver will always stay safe behind the wheel.
How can teenage driver safety be improved?
GJEL Accident Attorneys is a law firm that focuses on personal injury cases in California. They emphasize the importance of teenage drivers’ safety on the road, as car crashes are a leading cause of death for teens. In fact, according to research, teens are at a higher risk of being in a car crash than any other age group.
Driver Education Driver education plays a vital role in teaching teens basic vehicle handling skills, the rules of the road, and safe driving procedures. Jurisdictions should regulate driver education to meet Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards. This could be done in a phased approach where the initial phase (Phase 1) would include in-vehicle and theoretical instruction. The education should be teen-oriented, and a mandatory parent orientation course should be included to encourage parental involvement throughout the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) process. Additionally, parents should receive recommendations for areas that need improvement, and information about in-vehicle technologies that can enhance the safety of young drivers. The completion of driver education should not result in a reduced length of time spent in the learner stage. Driver education in-vehicle hours could be applied to reduce the mandatory minimum supervised driving hours if they are set at 120 hours or more.
The GDL should apply to all beginners, regardless of age, although some rules could be relaxed for adult learners and novices. The minimum entry age should be no younger than 16, and the minimum length required to remain in the learner stage should be no less than 12 months. To obtain a learner’s license, applicants must pass knowledge and vision tests, including items relating to GDL requirements. The minimum number of supervised driving hours that should be a requirement to progress through GDL should be greater than 50 hours, optimally 80-120, and should span all seasons of driving. Additionally, seat belt use should be required for drivers and passengers, and supervisors should be restricted to a low or zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Phone and electronic device use by learners should be prohibited, and vehicle decals should be required for all drivers in this stage to help police enforce GDL and encourage compliance with GDL restrictions.
The minimum entry age should be no younger than 17, and the minimum length required to remain in the intermediate stage should be no less than 12 months, regardless of age at the time of entry. This ultimately means that the minimum possible age to progress to full licensure should be 18 years old. Requirements for obtaining an intermediate license should include passing an on-road, standardized entry-test. This test should include hazard perception skills, and in-vehicle monitoring technology is encouraged as a means of objectively assessing driving skills and abilities.
Restrictions for intermediate license holders should include unsupervised nighttime driving restrictions beginning at 9-10 pm and ending no earlier than 5 am. With the exception of a supervising driver and family members, intermediate license holders should be restricted to have no more than one teenage passenger in the vehicle at all times. Additionally, phone and electronic device use should be prohibited, and vehicle decals should be required for all intermediate license holders to help police enforce GDL laws and encourage compliance with GDL restrictions. In order to progress to a full, unrestricted license, intermediate license holders should be required to pass an advanced on-road or computer-based exit test that includes measures of higher-order driving skills such as hazard perception, situational awareness, and decision-making.
In summary, the GDL is an essential step towards reducing the risk of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and death. The use of seat belts, avoiding distractions like alcohol, drugs, and texting, and having good driving behavior can all help save lives. Young drivers should be educated about their responsibility as drivers and the
Teenage driver safety highlights
- GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing) should apply to all beginner drivers, regardless of age, with a minimum entry age of 16 and a minimum of 12 months in the learner stage.
- Learner drivers should complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving, with log books required to promote compliance and seatbelt use and phone/electronic device use prohibited.
- Driver education should be regulated to meet Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards, including an initial phase of driver education for young learners that is teen-oriented and encourages parental involvement.
- The intermediate stage should have a minimum entry age of 17, with no exemptions for drivers who have completed driver education courses and a minimum length of 12 months.
- Restrictions for intermediate drivers should include unsupervised nighttime driving restrictions beginning at 9-10 pm and ending no earlier than 5 am, restrictions on the number of teenage passengers, and vehicle decals to encourage compliance with GDL restrictions. Intermediate drivers should also be required to pass an advanced on-road or computer-based exit test to progress to a full, unrestricted license.