What to Do

1.  Provide better driver training.

  • Help your young person get the Learner’s Permit, and provide LOTS of experience during that year.   For more about the learner's permit, click here.
  • Require a full year with a Learner’s Permit before you allow your child to take the driver's test.  

  • Provide practice driving under range of conditions.  Don't just practice driving on sunny afternoons.  Go out at night, when it's raining--in a variety of conditions.  Otherwise, the first time your new driver encounters these conditions, it will be when you aren't with them.

  • Consider private instruction.  Most teenagers are taught to drive by amateurs: Us.  Most of us are not professional drivers and most of us are not professional teachers.  So, there may be value in hunting down a professional driving instructor for your young person.


2.  Emphasize seat belt use.

3.  Restrict the number of passengers, especially early on.  This is particularly important because the risk of an accident goes up sharply with young drivers with passengers.  

4.  Make sure your teenager gets enough sleep before driving.  There's good reason to think that large numbers of crashes are related to drivers who haven't slept enough.

5.  Take a hard line about alcohol (and drug) use and driving.  

6.  Do not allow your child to ride with a new driver This website is about your teenage driver.  But, obviously, the passengers of a teenage driver are at least the same risk as the teenage driver.  More here.
 

7.  Be smart about the vehicle issue.

If you buy a vehicle for a teenager to drive: Sensible, relatively safe, and un-fun vehicle.  Check crash test data. 

Here's a really handy website for checking on safety ratings

8.  Don't permit texting or other cell phone use when the car is moving.  


9.  Develop, require, negotiate, and enforce a written contract.

No contract=No independent driving.  Period.





What to do: The Cheat Sheet

TRAINING:  Provide better training and lots of it.
SEAT BELTS:  Emphasize their use.
PASSENGERS Restrict.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE + DRIVING:  Don't tolerate.
RESTRICT USE OF IN-CAR ELECTRONICS.
CONTRACT!