Set Family Driving Rules and Limits
The state of Michigan has created laws for young drivers. Parents need to determine their own family rules in addition to the state laws. Make sure both sets of rules are clear from the start.
Michigan GDL Restrictions
Driving Rules for Your Family
Enforce safety belt use for your teen and all passengers.
Michigan's Primary Seatbelt Law requires that all drivers & passengers riding in the front seat wear a safety belt. In addition, all passengers under 16, no matter where they sit in the vehicle must be wearing safety belts.
Require a full report.
Before your teen leaves, require information about each trip such as where they are going, with whom and when they will return.
It is strongly suggested that you require your teen driver to check in each time before they drive by answering these questions:
- Where are you going?
- Who will your passengers be?
- When will you return?
- What is the weather expected to be like?
- What route will you take?
Prohibit driving or riding with someone who has used alcohol or drugs.
Agree that they can call you anytime, and you will pick them up.
New drivers really need to focus. Minimize things that might draw their attention away from driving. Consider prohibiting:
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio/CD player
- Passenger "horseplay"
Don't let your teen drive when they're tired.
Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people. Teach your teen to recognize when they are too tired to drive.
Don't let your teen drive when they're overly emotional.
Tell your teen not to drive when they are highly emotional, regardless of whether they are angry, happy or sad.
Require purposeful driving.
Purposeful driving is driving for a reason to a specific destination. Teen driving is most dangerous when done without a specific purpose or destination. Limiting your teen to purposeful driving will help keep them safe - as well as help cut down on pouring dollars down your gas tank.
The Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
Create and have your teen and you both sign a contract.
Create a written contract with your teen, one that grants more driving privileges as your teen continues to follow rules and gain experience behind the wheel. If they drive irresponsibly, they lose their driving privileges. For a sample visit youngdriverparenting.org to see the Checkpoints Program, a research-based, free resource for parents of teen drivers. Another option is the Parent or Legal Guardian and Teen Safe Driving Contract.
Set clear consequences for breaking the law and family rules, such as:
If your teen is untruthful about where she or he was going in the car ... they lose their driving privileges for _______ weeks/months.
The state of Michigan's laws and your family's rules are meant to keep your teen driver - and everyone else on the road - safe. But they won't work unless they are enforced. Law enforcement will do their part to enforce penalties for violations of state laws, but you must do yours. Enforce consequences for violations. Remember you are the parent and you have total control, use it.