Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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What is a parent/teen driving contract and how can it help?

It is every parent’s worst nightmare to find out something bad has happened to their child. This not only includes being arrested, but being hurt in an accident. According to USA Today, car accidents are the leading cause of preventable death for U.S. teenagers. If you’re like every caring parent in Stamford, you want to know if there are ways to prevent your teen from getting arrested or hurt after getting a driver’s license.

Millions of parents across the country are turning to an innovative, yet simple, tool that has the potential to reduce underage drunk driving, arrests and car accidents for young people. This is called a parent/teen agreement. The agreement is a contract that parents and teenagers sign before the teen gets the right to drive. Its potential is so promising that many insurance companies now offer incentives for families that sign a parent/teen contract.

The terms of a contract can be straightforward, and usually include the following:

  • Refraining from drinking and driving, or from getting in a car with a driver who is drunk
  • Wearing seatbelts at all times
  • Driving courteously and carefully
  • Obeying traffic laws

You can outline a punishment in the contract for disobeying any of these rules, such as restricting driving privileges for a certain amount of time or taking a safety class. When teenagers fully understand the consequences for breaking rules, they may be more likely to obey, especially if they participated in something as important as signing a contract.

Since the idea of parent/teen contracts is still relatively new, there are not any official statistics yet that show how effective they’ve been. Even so, you can imagine how this type of agreement can open up lines of communication between you and your child, and instill good driving habits. This can help your teen avoid a DUI charge and the costly penalties that result.

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