This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Driving rules and contract -edited to add stages


Here's the rules we'll probably implement when/if any of my kids ever get to drive! I added a section that breaks things down into stages with a graduated driving program. Many states require this so you might want to check to see if yours does.


Answers we need before you can use the car:
· Why do you want to drive there?
· Where do you want to go?
· Who are you taking with you?
· What would you do?
· When are you going and when will you return?


Teen Driving Rules for Beginning Drivers

· Never ride or drive with someone who is under 18 AND has not been driving at least a year
· Do not take any passengers until you are at least 18 and have been driving at least a year.
· No driving at night or under poor weather conditions (rain, fog, ice…) until you have been driving at least 6 months.
· No freeways and highway driving until have been driving for at least 6 months.
· No distractions (music, wearing headphones, eating, putting on makeup…)
· Hold learner's permit for 6 months before scheduling a road test.
Record 50 hours of supervised driving practice, 15 of those after dark.

Violation of Rules May Lead to Suspension of Driving


  • I must ask for permission to use the car, and parents must know where I am at all times.

  • I will not text, eat, dial a cell phone, change CD's, or operate any other device while driving;

  • I will pull over the car if I need to do anything other than drive.

  • I will not rush, because accidents are more likely to occur if I am rushing. I will allow myself plenty of time to get where I need to be.

  • I will not smoke, or allow others to smoke, in the vehicle.

  • I am financially responsible for any tickets, fines, or increases in insurance rates because of my driving.

  • I will abide by the curfew established by my parents. I understand that this curfew can be modified, depending on my demonstration of responsible driving.

  • I will not transport any passengers other than family members until the law permits me to do so; passengers will be limited at that time, as well.

  • I will have all passengers in my car, including me, wear a seatbelt.

  • No one else is permitted to drive the family vehicle unless prior, specific permission has been given by the vehicle's legal owner.

  • I will respect road and weather conditions and drive accordingly. If road conditions become dangerous I will call a parent immediately.

  • If I am upset or angry, I will not drive; my parents agree not to ask unnecessary questions about my upset so that I can maintain my privacy.

  • I must protect and care for the car I drive, keeping it clean inside and out. Oil changes and necessary maintenance are my financial responsibility.

  • I will maintain essential emergency equipment (flares, flashlight, jumper cables, and first aid kit) and know how to use them.

  • I will not allow passengers to behave in a way that will distract my driving or damage the vehicle.

  • I will pay attention 100% of the time while I am driving. I will not allow myself to become distracted.


Other Notes About Safe Driving1. Tickets will result in a suspension of my driving privileges for a period of time specified by my parents. Concealing any tickets, warnings or collisions from parents can also result in suspension of driving privileges.
2. My parents have no legal obligation to pay any fines associated with my driving infractions; I am responsible for these fines.
3. Any use or evidence of drugs, alcohol or weapons use by me or my passengers will result in suspension of driving privileges for a specified period of time, determined by my parents.
4. Not be in the car with a driver who is drunk or taking drugs, drowsy, or driving irresponsibly. If I ever find myself in a situation where I cannot find a safe ride home, I will call you. There will be no consequences for this call.
5. Road rage, thrill seeking, stunts, any sort of racing, or any other evidence of unsafe driving can result in suspension of driving privileges for a specified period of time, determined by my parents.
6. I will be respectful at home with all family members. Rudeness or disrespect could cause me to lose my driving privileges for a specified period of time, determined by my parents.
7. I will pay for the gas necessary to drive. If I am asked to run errands for my parents or other family members, I will be reimbursed for the gasoline cost involved in the extra driving.
8. This contract can be made more strict at any time if my parents believe that it becomes necessary to do so based on my behavior. I understand that if I consistently abide by all rules, my parents may choose to make this contract less restrictive.

My driving and this contract will be reviewed and discussed again on (date).
Structured Rules Tell Teens They Will Lose Driving Privileges for Violation of Family Rules
Stage one:
1) with his new driver's license, teen must drive with a licensed adult driver at all times, preferably his or her parent
2) no driving between 10 pm and 5 am or no driving after sunset
3) driver and all passengers must wear safety belts
4) no use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
5) teen must remain ticket-free and crash-free for 6 months before moving up to the next stage
Stage two:
1) teen must drive with a licensed adult driver during nighttime hours, preferably his or her parent
2) teen allowed to drive unsupervised during daytime hours
3) passengers restricted to one nonfamily member during daytime hours
4) no use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
5) driver and all passengers must wear safety belts
6) teen must remain ticket-free and crash-free for 12 months before moving up to the next stage
Stage three:
1) teen must be at least 18 years old or have driven at least 2 years at the previous stage
2) no restrictions on driving as long as the teen driver remains ticket-free and crash-free for 6 months
3) no use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
4) all passengers must wear safety belts These graduated rules are being used by families throughout the country to assure their new teenage driver does not drive dangerously. It is also evidence that, as always, parents remain the first line of defense in protecting their children.

Other posts about kids with trauma issues driving: 

Driving and Kids with Trauma Issues
What we expect before you begin driving

5 comments:

J. said...

I am so happy that is still so far off for us but I think that it is a great idea to have it all laid out before hand so everything is "crystal" clear.

Lulu McCabe said...

Oh thank you! We are right on the verge of letting T. get his license and this list of rules is so helpful.

marythemom said...

There is a lot of info on graduated driving rules on the internet and some states even require them. I'd check your state for graduated driving rules. I just found more that I like!

Mary in TX

Anon England said...

Yeah...very late comment but I don't care.

I do remember reading about someone who did this to their adult-child who was living with them as part of household rules.

Adult-child said that they couldn't set a curfew on them because they were an adult. The parents countered with "YOU can stay out as late as you like - just don't make noise when you come in but THE CAR has a curfew of MIDNIGHT."

marythemom said...

I like that idea, Anon England!