Last week I was exposed to sound wisdom. I met a parent, Asif Kachra. We have not met each other for years since our kids attended the same preschool. Asif was full of wisdom when we talked about a big hurdle for any parent—when our teens start to drive.
He told me that he drew up a contract and it was signed by his daughter, his wife and himself. The contract—really an agreement that underscores that driving a car is a privilege and not a right—is a way where boundaries are laid out clearly.
I asked him to share it with me in writing and he was kind enough to say yes—the readers of this blog will benefit, but perhaps most importantly your teen will benefit the most. This is an example of parents who love their child and set an example for us to emulate.
Here are some highlights:
–Before leaving on any driving trip, I will discuss with my parent(s) where I’m going and when I’ll be back
–I understand that my driving safely is not just protection for me, but also for every passenger in my car, and for everyone else on the road, including small children and babies on the sidewalks and in other vehicles. I understand that it’s my responsibility to protect everyone. I understand that if I don’t take driving seriously, I run the risk of seriously injuring or killing an innocent person or myself.
–I will not speed — particularly in school zones and/or in bad weather — and I will obey all traffic laws (including curfews or other laws). I will drive safely and defensively at all times, and I will not be a passenger in a vehicle that is being driven unsafely or illegally.
–I will call — at any time of the day or night — my parent(s) for help in getting home if — for any reason — I am not able to drive both safely and legally. The person called will come and get me immediately. Making this intelligent and responsible phone call will NOT result in the loss of driving privileges or other punishment.
–I know that my parent(s) signing below will always love me and accept me — even if I make a mistake. I also recognize that this love and acceptance requires one or both of them to suspend my driving privileges if either feel it is warranted.
–I accept that my parent(s) signing below have more experience than I do on the road, and so I will listen to and carefully consider the advice that I is given. If my parent(s) signing below feel that more training on my part is required, I will immediately obtain more training.
–I agree to pay the full cost of any traffic violation tickets.
–I agree to pay the full cost of all damages incurred that are not covered by insurance, as well as the difference in insurance premiums caused by the damages.
–I will never consume alcohol, drugs or inhalants before driving or while driving — nor will there be open containers of alcoholic beverages (mine or anyone else’s), drugs or drug paraphernalia at any time in the vehicle
–I will not drive anyone else’s vehicle, nor allow anyone to drive my vehicle, unless I have prior permission from my parents, or unless it’s an emergency involving illness or injury. I will not loan my vehicle to any other person, unless I have prior permission from my parents.
–I will never allow anyone who has been consuming alcoholic beverages, drugs or inhalants to drive a vehicle in which I’m a passenger.
–I will always drive with my seat belt properly and securely fastened. I will never transport more passengers than I have seat belts. All seat belts will be in working order. All passengers will wear a seat belt, and all seat belts will be fastened properly and securely before the vehicle moves. If anyone refuses to buckle up, or unbuckles while I’m driving, I will stop the vehicle.
–I will keep my vehicle clean, inside and out, and in good working order. I will not be a driver or passenger in a vehicle that isn’t safely maintained. I will wash and wax the vehicle as required, and I will not bring my vehicle home without at least a quarter of a tank of gas.
–I will not behave rudely in my vehicle or with my vehicle — to other passengers, other drivers, law enforcement, or my parent(s) signing below.
–I will keep my eyes on the road at all times, and — while driving — I will not use my cell phone, change a CD, read a map, use the GPS, put on makeup, look around in my purse, glove compartment or wallet (or engage in any other behavior not specified here that prevents me from devoting my full attention to the road).
–I recognize that driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and I also recognize that each parent signing below has individual veto power over my driving privileges for the duration of my life as a minor.
For the parent(s)/guardian(s):
We the parents do grant our daughter access to a vehicle as long as he/she obeys all stipulations noted above.
We agree to pick her up at any time, from any place, if she is ever in a situation where she or another driver has consumed alcohol, inhalants, drugs or other illegal or inappropriate substance.