Sheriff: Talk safety with teen drivers

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Dave Kramer Guest Opinion

A new season is almost upon us at fair time, and to some the dreaded words “back to school” are starting to be heard. It is a sign that summer is fast coming to a close and fall will be here before we know it. Most of us are not ready for summer to end yet, but soon it will. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to fall, it is one of my favorite seasons — fresh fall air, football, cooler days, hunting season.

The reality of the changing seasons is that soon we will have students driving to school again combined with ongoing traffic construction and shorter daylight hours. Take advantage of this transition time between summer and fall to sit down and have a discussion with your teenage drivers about what you expect and the consequences of unsafe driving. It is important that you don’t expect them to drive safer than you do, set a good example, always wear your seatbelt, don’t tailgate, come to a full stop at the stop signs, watch your speed, don’t tailgate allow enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you for sudden unexpected stops. And probably the most important one is do not text and drive. Distracted driving is the cause of many of the accidents.

Certain times of the day with school starting you can expect delays as there will be more traffic on the road, plan to leave a little earlier to allow for the traffic slowdowns. If you have to enter the highway from a side street in town plan to make a right turn, even if you need to go left, it is easier to get out onto the road and then make a left turn, be courteous to other drivers and especially watch for pedestrians crossing the roadway.

Here is a sample contract that can be done between parents and their teenage drivers. This parent-teen driving agreement can also be found at www.cdc.gov/Motorvehicle safety. The most important part of this agreement is making the actual time to sit down and have a safe driving discussion with your teen driver.

I agree to the following restrictions, but understand that these restrictions will be modified by my parents as I get more driving experience and demonstrate that I am a responsible driver.

For the next _____ months, I will not drive after ________ p.m.

For the next _____ months, I will not transport more than _______ teen passengers (unless I am supervised by a responsible adult).

For the next _____ months, I won’t adjust the stereo, electronic devices, or air conditioning/heater while the car is moving.

For the next _____ months, I will not drive in bad weather.

I will not text and drive

I understand that I am not permitted to drive to off-limit locations or on roads and highways as listed here:

Additional restrictions:

I agree to follow all the rules and restrictions in this contract. I understand that my parents will impose penalties (see below), including removal of my driving privileges, if I violate the contract. I also understand that my parents will allow me greater driving privileges as I become more experienced and as I demonstrate that I am always a safe and responsible driver.

Penalties for contract violations:

Drove after drinking alcohol or using drugs No driving for ______ months

Got ticket for speeding or moving violation No driving for ______ months

Drove after night driving curfew No driving for ______ weeks/months

Drove too many passengers No driving for ______ weeks/months

Broke promise about seat belts (self and others) No driving for ______ weeks/months

Drove on a road or to an area that is off-limits No driving for ______ weeks/months

Signatures

Driver: ________________

Date: ________________

Parent promise: I also agree to drive safely and to be an excellent role model. Parent (or guardian): ____________________________ Date: ________________ Parent (or guardian): ____________________________ Date: ________________

Let’s all work together at keeping our roads safe and accident free by being responsible drivers.

• • •

Dave Kramer is the Sheriff of Boundary County.

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