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A Message to Parents

Drivers Icon Teaching Your Teen to Drive

As a parent of young drivers, I understand the challenges you face as parents and guardians of teenagers learning to drive. We play a critical role in developing teens’ safe and responsible driving habits. We should be role models by practicing the habits we want our teens to develop.

Driving is a privilege that must be earned by following the rules of the road and making a commitment to drive safely and responsibly. Our teens lead busy lives. But there is no place for multi-tasking or checking phones while driving. Driving requires their complete focus and attention. Cell phone use while driving is illegal for new drivers, and texting while driving is against the law for all drivers in Wisconsin.

Getting lots of behind-the-wheel practice time with your teen is one of the most important things you can do to improve their driving skills. We developed this useful guide to help you make the most of your driving time together.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary

Craig Thompson

In Wisconsin, teens are involved in fatal crashes twice as often as all other drivers. To reduce teen driver deaths and injuries, all states, including Wisconsin, have enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. These laws phase in driving privileges for teen drivers over a period of months. GDL laws save lives; we see this in the data. One fatal crash is one too many. However, since enacting graduated driver licensing in 2000, the number of annual fatal crashes involving teen drivers has decreased more than 60%. GDL laws that require 30 or more hours of supervised driving, restrict nighttime driving, and limit the number of passengers a new driver can have in the car significantly reduce teen fatalities. Please know and enforce Wisconsin’s GDL requirements with the young driver you are sponsoring; they can save your teen’s life. You will find them in the middle section of this guidebook.

We’ve designed this handbook to guide you through the process of behind-the-wheel training. Use it, practice together often and master each section to ensure that your teen develops safe and responsible driving skills. Buckle up, put your cell phone away, obey the speed limit and enjoy this exciting experience.

Wisconsin DMV Administrator

Kristina Boardman