Safe Teen Driving Starts with Phased Privileges

Sean is 16 years old and he has just received his driver license. He is excited. His mom is relieved. She will not have to bundle up the younger children every weekday evening and drive to the high school to pick up Sean from basketball practice. She will allow Sean to drive to basketball practice, school sporting events, the movies, and a few social events in his first few months of driving.

Tailoring a safe driving program to meet you teen’s needs with consideration of his/her skill and decision making level is the best way to introduce your teen to the understanding that driving is a privilege.

Step 1

Meet with your teen in a relaxed setting, a favorite pizza place or coffee shop to discuss the privileges & responsibilities of driving.

The new driver should start out by driving alone or with one passenger to school, sports practice and events, and to friends that are close by. The parent and teen should discuss a set of expectations and sign an agreement. When your new driver successfully follows the Graduated Driver License rules, consistently returns home at the agreed upon time, does not engage in distracted driving, and is violation free, he/she should be rewarded by being allowed to go to the next level.

Step 2

Your teen has been driving for several months and has shown maturity by following the rules that you both agreed to. This is also a great time to meet with your teen in a relaxed environment and talk about the responsibility of the additional driving privileges.

Congratulate your teen for completing Step 1 and discuss possible scenarios that may happen at this next stage. Additional privileges may include limited nighttime and weekend car use and driving further away There may be pressure from friends to allow more than one passenger in the car, play loud music, and not wear seat belts. Emphasize to your teen that the determination and fortitude to stand up to fellow teens and abide by the rules will lead to full driving privileges.

Step 3

A Defensive Driving class is the best way for your teen to identify hazardous situations on the road and respond competently. Completion of a defensive driving class combined with 9 to 12 months of driving experience with no violations are an opportunity for you and your teen to sit down and discuss independent driving and full privileges.

Defensive Driving: Download Earned Privileges, A Phased Privilege Program for Teen Drivers.

For a more information on phased privileges go to the US News and World report article: Firm Parents Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Go to for defensive driving course information.

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