Teacher and coach

Teen drivers and teen passengers

My first son is currently 14 and a half, and while he’s not driving yet he has a few older friends who are.  Until recently, one of our house rules was: no riding in a car with a teen driver.  Though it was inconvenient at times (like when I had to drop off The First at some event to which “everyone else” got to ride with one of his friends), I was pretty pleased with this rule; it was simple, easy to enforce, and provided my son with a reasonable amount of protection from the dangers of teen drivers.

A couple of months ago, however, one of The First’s best friends got his driver’s license, and suddenly he was ready to re-negotiate the rule.  After discussing the matter with my wife, I reluctantly agreed that forbidding him to EVER ride in a car with a teenager might be unnecessarily strict, so the issue became one of “under what circumstances would it be allowed.”

I did a little research and found not only some useful stats to inform our eventual agreement, but also a pretty nifty online tool from Allstate called a Parent-Teen Driving Contract, which we modified slightly to create our own Teen Rider Agreement.  I found the process of creating the document to be very valuable, as it forced me to consider what restrictions I felt were most important and why.  The process also provided opportunities for some good discussions with The First about safe driving.

The one rule in our Agreement that The First objected to most strenuously was the one about not riding with “any teen driver who has had their license less than 6 months,” since this ruled out riding with his newly-licensed friend this summer.  The wife and I insisted on this one, however, and even discovered later that his friend’s parents had implemented very similar rules at their house.  It turned out that even if we would have allowed The First to ride with their son, they wouldn’t have.  I thought that was pretty cool.

During my research, the stats I found most interesting (in addition to those that showed just how dangerous teen drivers are in general) had to do with the increased risk of accidents when teen drivers were a) driving at night, and b) carrying other teen passengers.  Here are links to some teen driving statistics that I found most useful:

7 Responses to “Teen drivers and teen passengers”

  1. There is a high correlation between the number of accidents caused by teenagers and the ammount of people in their car!

    Also, the type of music they are listening to

  2. bledsoe says:

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the graph near the bottom of in the Fatality Facts 2007 link. I don’t know for sure, but since this is a graph showing the percent of *drunk* drivers killed (by age), it might have something to do with changes in laws (or enforcement of laws) related to drinking and driving. In particular, in 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which established age 21 as the minimum age for “purchasing and publicly possessing” alcoholic beverages.

    (BTW, the “neat graph about 2/3 of the way down the page” that I was referring to is the graph immediately above the “drunk drivers” one.)

  3. Thanks for this helpful post – it’s still a few years off for us but I’ll remember your teen driving contract as it seems a manageable list with useful specifics (cell phone use, radio etc). I’d like to know what happened around 1980 that reduced the fatality rate so much on the graph.
    .-= Annabel – Campervan Insurance´s last blog ..What to do after a Road Traffic Accident =-.

  4. Shawn Cooper says:

    I found it so helpful that I actually just added a link for the Parent-Teen Driving Contract to our new website, in the “Parents” section. Thanks again for sharing!

  5. bledsoe says:

    Thanks, Shawn, I hope others will find it useful. Lisa’s right, there was a fair amount of teen drama while putting our agreement together, but I think it was worth it.

  6. Shawn Cooper says:

    Wow, this is great stuff. Very helpful to parents (and interesting to youth pastors). Thanks for sharing, Lance.

  7. The amount of drama we suffered while attempting to work out our agreement was ungodly, fwiw. Parents of teens: beware. We still have to do it twice more and I’ll be hard pressed not to stab out my own heart with a fork before it’s over. It would be less painful, anyway.
    .-= Lisa Creech Bledsoe´s last blog ..19 Best Worst Villains of All Time =-.

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