Driving Contracts The first year of driving is a high-risk period for the beginner. Inexperience combined with alack of skill means that one in five male year old drivers and about one in ten female year olds will have a crash during their first year of driving. Some of the worst accidents occur at night and with a group of young people in the car. If alcohol or any other kind of impairment is involved the risk in this situation is magnified several times. This is one of the reasons that Tennessee’s GDL program places restrictions on these two areas for new teen drivers. As it gets closer to the time when your new driver will be applying for the Intermediate Driver License, some parents find it helpful to sit down and spell out just what they expect when they turn the car over to their teen. It is up to you whether you would want to have this contract written and signed, or just discussed as a family, but areas you could consider covering in your agreement include Where they may drive (miles, road types, etc What hours of the day they may drive The condition the car should be returned (gas in tank, clean, etc) and the consequences if this is neglected. ✓ Who pays for the car’s gas and maintenance What amount they will contribute toward auto insurance Responsibility for parking tickets or vehicle damage Consequences for moving violations, including speeding Safe driving is very much a matter of seeing what needs to be seen and making good decisions, but this is not simple to achieve. Experience and training play a major role in ensuring that a driver’s eyes will look in the right places at the right time and that their knowledge of safe and defensive driving will help them make the proper response to the situation. Being a good defensive driver means more than just being cautious and mere experience isn’t enough either The good defensive driver has to work at developing good driving techniques. And this work does not end with passing the driver license examination. The novice driver’s biggest enemy is the complacency that comes from early success at learning driving basics. As parents or mentors your role is to help the teen overcome that complacency and continue to build driving skills after licensing.