Parent-teen contracts for Arkansas teen drivers

    9:42 PM, Oct 21, 2010   |    comments
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    • Patricia & Kevin Davis

    Kevin Davis is a fairly new driver. At 17, he's been behind the wheel for just one year.

    He says, "It gets hectic at times, especially around traffic time."

    The car is practically his lifeline. He uses it for driving to school, work and extracurricular activities.

    It's a busy life with lots of distractions. Still, for Kevin, the dangers of teen driving are very real. Four of his classmates at North Little Rock High School West were killed earlier this year in a car crash.

    Kevin's mom, Patricia Davis says, "As a parent, it's very frightening to know that your child is on the road and you could lose your child in an instant."

    That's her reason a parent/teen driving contract. It's a promise to always wear your seatbelt, never text, never speed, never have more than one teen with you, and be off the road by 11 p.m.

    Kevin explains, "It's kind of embarrassing but at the same time I know why she's doing it. She's just looking out for me and trying to abide by the law."

    Yes, they're not just his mom's rules but state laws. Plus, their insurance requires a contract. The goal is to lower the number of teen deaths. The numbers are alarming; in the last decade more than 1,000 teens have died on Arkansas roads. The death rate is twice the national average, with about one fatality every six days.

    Kevin says, "I think a lot of teenagers think it cannot possibly happen to them."

    So, Kevin obeys while remembering his mom's advice that there could be road blocks.

    Patricia says, "As long as you have the consequences that if you break any of those rules that you don't get to drive."

    For the mother and son, getting behind the wheel is a privilege, not a right. As for the contract, it's more than just paper. It's a tool to help save lives.

    "That's my only child and you want the best for them," adds Patricia.

    The contracts are available from many insurance companies, auto club AAA and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check this contract out from Arkansas Children's Hospital.

    In the meantime, check out our special The Great Hang Up section right here on todaysthv.com that includes in-depth stories looking at the problem of distracted living and ways to protect you and your family.

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