Family First: Teen Driving

If you have a teenager on the verge of driving, it is critical that both you and your teen know the Arkansas Graduated Driver License Law. Studying the law together will ensure you're able to enforce the rules put in place to protect your young driver and the other drivers out on the road. {}Josef Braunfisch, 15, spends a lot of time behind the wheel with one of his parents by his side since getting his Learner's Permit on his 14 birthday. Mom, Traci, coaches Josef as he learns to maneuver traffic in all kinds of driving conditions.{}"I think getting my permit at 14 and driving for the full, extensive two-years that I have my permit is good practice. And that I'm not just someone new that has never driven my car before; so its just being safe. Being a new driver, I guess it will be fun, but responsibilities do come with it and just being smart about it, really," said Josef.{}Equipping their three boys with the skills to be safe drivers is something the Braunfisch family takes seriously. When Josef turns 16 in March, just like his older brothers, he'll sign a driving contract with his parents and he'll only be allowed to drive in a restricted area. As he successfully gains more experience, those parameters will gradually open up."We wanted them to feel confident about what they were doing and we wanted to feel confident that when they drove out of our driveway we were putting what we felt like was the best driver out there for other people and we wanted our kids to be safe and we wanted them to be safe for other people," said Traci.It's an approach, Corporal Chuck Lewis with the Arkansas State Police would like to see in more families. {}Lewis said "This is a process that we want the parent in on from the very start. {}come up here, get a book, ask questions about what you need to know to take the test. {}ask questions and study the book together, make it a nightly thing."And get those supervised hours behind the wheel. Little Rock Traffic Judge Vic Fleming said he made sure his own children, each, spent 100 hours driving with him before they were allowed to get their intermediate license at the age of 16."The most common offense we see among teenagers is careless and prohibitive driving. That's the phrase used in the law. It's unlawful to operate a vehicle if you're not paying the proper attention or if you're not maintaining the proper control, but almost always, speed and or following too close are involved there. Speed and following too close," said Fleming.Just because of their inexperience, teen drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in a crash. Parents also have to reinforce state law regarding cell phone use, passenger restrictions and curfew, but if those rules are respected by their teenagers, then launching your new driver won't be as frightening.{}

It is recommended that parents have a driving contract in place with their teen. For an example of what that contract can look like, click here.

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