Parent-teen driving contract can save lives

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers throughout the United States and in Ohio as well. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, from 2010-2012, there were 100,871 traffic crashes where a teen driver was at fault. These crashes resulted in 299 fatalities and 44,458 injuries, and represent 9 percent of all fatal crashes during this time.

To help prevent injuries and save lives, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed Pact for Safe Driving. The program, made possible by a grant from the Allstate Foundation, is centered around a website ( that includes data and statistics, risk factors, information about Ohio’s Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws, and a parent-teen driving contract. Research shows that parents who set rules and monitor their teens driving in a helpful, supportive way can reduce the risk of their child being involved in a crash.

The parent-teen driving contract, modeled after The Checkpoints Program, helps parents plan ahead and work with their teen to set clear driving privileges as they move through the GDL system. The contract includes AAP recommendations for several areas, including: distracted driving, night-time driving, and number of passengers in the car.

I am not just a pediatrician, I am a father of two teenagers – one of whom is a new driver. I understand how difficult these conversations can be, but I know it’s important and the contract can serve as a useful tool to make it a little easier. I encourage all parents of teens to visit to learn more.

Mike Gittelman, MD, FAAP

Ohio AAP Executive Committee and board of trustees

Ohio AAP Injury Prevention Committee co-chair

Professor, Emergency Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital