Do You Let Your Teen Drive to School?

Kim Conte
Tweens & Teens

back to school guide

Driving to and from school is the first time that many teens are in the car without parental supervision.

As a mom, does this freak you out?

Here are some suggested guidelines that may help to alleviate at least some of the stress that comes with driving teens...


Do you let your teen drive to school?

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Many schools, districts, and states have introduced programs and campaigns specifically aimed at decreasing the number of accidents and fatalities involving teenagers. Check to see if there are any programs available in your community.

In the meantime,  I thought these parental guidelines from Safe Teen Driving (an initiative in Virginia) were particularly useful for teens driving to school. They're super strict, but the intention is clear. Specifically, they address the top two reasons for crashes involving teens: inexperience and distractions (either from cell phones or friends in the car).

  • A teen driver must log at least 1,000 miles or 60 hours of driving with parents before driving alone.
  • No riding with someone who has had his or her license for less than six months.
  • No teen passengers for the first six months.
  • After the initial six-month period, no more than one passenger for another six months.
  • Driving must be with specific permission: destination, time, route, and passengers must all be pre-approved. Call home if any plans change.
  • All persons in the car must wear seat belts at all times.
  • Be home at a pre-agreed time. Call if running late.
  • Call home upon arrival at destination. Then call again when starting for home. The teen driver's cell phone must always be on.
  • Without exception, pull over to use the cell phone. Check this link for information on cell phone driving laws state-by-state.
  • No driving on major highways for the first six months without specific permission.
  • Do not allow others to drive the car, and do not drive someone else's car without a parent's permission.
  • Severe, long-term, non-negotiable consequences for any drinking or drug use and driving will be imposed.

Do you worry about your teen driving to school?

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