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Keeping Kids Safe Behind the Wheel (Part Two)

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, May 14, 2010 5:03 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Teen Drivers, Driver Contract, Rasansky, Auto Accidents, Teen Deaths

Crashproof your kids this summer with a drivers contract between teen and parent.

Teen Safety This Summer


IMAGE SOURCE: Crashproof Your Kids Web site

With high school days winding down and the summer approaching, millions of teens are anticipating their newfound freedom as they take to the roads and drive for the first time.

The same scenario strikes terror in the hearts of parents.

A total of 4,054 teenagers, ages 13 to 19, lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2008, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Auto crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.

The book, Crashproof Your Kids reminds us to consider these sobering statistics:

• 58 out of 100 new drivers get into a crash the first year

• 16-year-olds are 20 times more likely than an adult to die in an automobile crash and 3times more likely than an 18- or 19-year-old

• Every single day, 19 people 15 to 20 years old are killed, and more than 1,800 are injured in vehicle crashes

But parents can do more than watch their darling disappear into the sunset.

The Crashproof Plan

Certified driving instructor Timothy Smith has developed a Crashproof Plan, a series of behind-the-wheel exercises designed to improve your teen’s driving behavior.

His book “Crashproof Your Kids” includes a Crashproof Contract, which outlines the responsibilities of the new driver, and tips on how to teach kids to drive, how to handle distractions, peer pressure, use of alcohol and drugs, and basic road emergencies.

Teen Driver Contracts

The Rasansky Law firm in Dallas (IB member) has created a Safe Driving Contract and Agreement. The binding agreement is signed by both teen driver and parents.

New teen drivers promise to obey all traffic laws and regulations, drive defensively and at safe speeds, not to engage in any racing, to always wear a seat belt as a driver and passenger, not to drive after consuming alcohol or illicit substances, and to maintain their grades, among other provisions.

Rasansky tells IB News, “I created the Safe Driving Contract because I wanted to ensure that my kids understood that there are consequences for each of their actions and that they have to be responsible and law abiding citizens. Driving a car is a huge responsibility and they need to recognize that serious repercussions exist if they misuse or abuse the privilege that we have given them.”

And if there is a contract violation?

Time to parent up, says Rasansky.

“Parents need to hold their child responsible and enforce the terms of the Agreement. If parents are unwilling to enforce the terms of the agreement, parents send the wrong message – they send a message that agreements or contracts are not all that meaningful and that driving is not as a big responsibility like we said it was.

“Of course, enforcing some of the terms of the agreement may prove to be not convenient for us (as we will need to schlep our kids to and from school, activities, etc), but the lessons taught and enforced send a louder message to teen drivers that we mean what we say. “

The contract outlines very specific consequences based on the violation.

1. Traffic violations: one to two weeks, depending on violation

2. Unsafe or reckless driving: three to six weeks

3. Alcohol or drug related situations: six months (or longer)

4. Driving another person’s vehicle or allowing another to drive your vehicle: two days to four weeks

5. Does not notify parents of delays of more than 30 minutes: two weeks

6. Does not notify parents of change in route/destination: one weekend per occurrence

7. Does not notify parents of accidents: four to six weeks

8. Runs out of gas: one day for first occurrence, two days for second, etc.

9. Exhibits uncooperative attitude toward errand responsibilities: one weekend

10. Does not notify parents of mechanical malfunction: one weekend

11. Does not maintain ____%or better in every subject: three weeks

12. Takes the car without permission or does not notify parent of intent to use car: one to six months

Fiscal Responsibility

A teen driver can add an additional cost to your auto insurance policy of $500 to $3,000 per year according to Lease.com. Some auto insurance companies offer discounts and will lower premium rates, depending on how well the teen does in school.

Many insurers will offer a discount if a student maintains a “B” average or better and taking a driver’s education course can lower rates. Insurers will assign a car to a teen driver and that can be the most expensive Mercedes rather than the Ford Focus.

Consumers need to confirm which vehicle the teen will be driving.

A portion of the teen’s income from a part-time job can help pay a portion of the monthly insurance bill as a condition to maintaining driving privileges.

The teen may be more likely to drive safely if some of his income helps to keep the vehicle on the road. #

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