While driving can be challenging for even the most experienced people in California, for teenagers especially, the risk of becoming involved in an accident is exponentially higher because of their lack of experience. Parents and educators can play an instrumental role in teaching young people how their decisions while driving can yield consequences both good and bad.

According to State Farm Insurance, one way that parents can encourage responsible driving behavior from their children at a young age is by developing a safe driving initiative or agreement. It is recommended that parents sit down with their children and discuss the details of their agreement to verify that everyone shares a mutual understanding of responsibilities and consequences for failing to abide by the contract. Parents could include clauses that discuss not drinking and driving, not texting and driving and encouraging passenger safety by reducing noise and distractions.

Parents should lay out their expectations and discuss why their expectations have been set and how responsible behavior can be an advantage for their teenager. They should talk about how failing to drive safely could cause life-altering consequences that could hurt them and other people who have been impacted by their behavior. If regularly evaluated, a safe driving agreement between parents and their teenage children can be used to recognize areas where improvements can be made and incentivize young people to develop safe driving habits from the start.

The New York Times says that while there have been effective measures put in place to monitor teenage drivers and help them to learn about safety, oftentimes they are not policed as well as they should be. This lack of enforcement from parents, in particular, can render these helpful resources rather useless. When parents take such initiatives seriously, they can more effectively protect their children and teach them responsible driving practices.