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The most difficult phase of the licensing process is the Provisional License. Teens have new freedoms. Parents have new fears. You are in charge, however, and Tough Love is required.

The risk of your teen being involved in a crash or getting a ticket is highest during the first 6-12 months of licensure. Recent studies have found that teens tend to take more risks than adults because the part of their brain that leads them to anticipate consequences doesn’t fully develop until they reach their mid-20’s. With that in mind, it is imperative that parents make the decision when their teen is ready to drive. Teens may think they are ready, they may have completed all the State requirements and they may have even passed the road test but only you know if they are ready for the responsibility of safely handling a vehicle on the road.Once that decision is made, a natural strategy for mentoring new drivers comes from the combination of progressive privileges and rational consequences. Some parents find a written contract enhances the agreement they make with their teen driver about driving privileges. Click here for a Sample Contract.

Besides an agreement with your teen that at all times, all traffic laws will be followed (seat belts, speed, no cell phone use, full stops, etc.).

Parents must be clear what the consequences will be for violating these privileges, such as reversion to a previous step, tighter curfew, grounding or fines. Too often, parents don’t enforce the rules because it inconveniences them; parents must be willing to be inconvenienced.

We recommend parents get in the habit of regularly discussing the drives the student had – what route was taken, what the conditions were, what happened, what the new driver did, what mistakes they saw others make. It is important that teens understand that parents are always concerned about their driving.

Did you know parents can have their teen’s permit or license withdrawn? The Withdrawal of Parental Consent/Voluntary Surrender form can be found at the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle web site. Withdrawal of consent can be used to take a teen off an insurance policy to save money or as a consequence for unsafe decisions. If your teen doesn’t seem to “get it”, print off the form and post it on the refrigerator.

One more thing: talk to your teen about riding with other new teen drivers. Let them know that they should not take a chance riding with another teen who they don’t feel is a safe driver. Of course, they should always wear their seatbelt. Let them know you would rather pick them up than have them ride with an unsafe teen driver.

Some suggested additional graduated privileges are:


(1-3 months of licensure)
Daylight driving only
Low-stress conditions (light traffic, good road conditions)
No passengers
No music
Check in with parent before leaving and after arriving

(4-6 months of licensure)Nighttime driving with a curfew and no passengers
Low-stress conditions (light traffic, good road conditions)
Check in with parent before leaving and after arriving for nighttime driving only
Limited daytime passengers
Daytime music allowed

(6-9 months of licensure)Nighttime driving with one passenger
Check in with parent before leaving and after arriving for nighttime driving only
Nighttime music allowed

(9-12 months of licensure)All road and traffic conditions allowed
Check in with parent before leaving and after arriving for rain or snow only