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Perspective: My Teenage Driving Contract

August 15, 2013

Tom Webb, VP of Product DevelopmentPerhaps nothing scares me more right now than the fact that my 15-year-old twin sons are driving. Although they have been pretty responsible so far, I worry they’ll make bad decisions in driving situations where they are in over their heads. And, well, I remember myself at 15-16. Made some pretty bad decisions myself!

I debated what to do with my boys: Do I give them a car? Make them buy one? I decided to take a different route and give them a two-year “contract” to use one of my vehicles. The contract outlines their responsibilities and, most importantly, has built-in events that trigger consequences. Because they know the rules up front, I expect them to be less surprised at the punishment if they break them. Ultimately, my hope is that these rules instill good habits over the next few years as they get more driving experience.

The contract lays out very specific rules for things like:

  • When their driving privileges can be revoked
  • Who owns the car they drive
  • Who is responsible for certain costs (gas, etc.)
  • Actions that will result in the car being taken away
  • Expectations about cell phone use and driving while tired
  • Who is allowed to ride with them
  • Minimum grade levels required to keep their car privileges
  • Curfews and off-limit driving areas

We spent three hours discussing the five-page contract, and they initialed each line and signed at the bottom. We have committed to reviewing the contract every six months until they are at least 18. I am hopeful that this will make them both realize how serious they should take driving.

If you are interested, feel free to download my contract at here. You can reach out with feedback or more ideas for the contract at tom.webb@hcss.com.