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A Message to Parents

Drivers Icon Teaching Your Teen to Drive

As the parent or guardian of a teenager learning to drive, you play a critical role in your teen’s development of safe and responsible driving habits. One of the most important things to do is to get lots of behind-the-wheel practice time with your teen; the more, the better. We have developed this useful guide to help you make the most of your driving time together.

I have a few thoughts to share before you hand over the keys. First, remind your teen that driving is a privilege that must be earned by following the rules of the road and making a commitment to drive safely and responsibly. Second, driving requires focus and attention. Our teens are often multi-tasking and constantly checking their phones; there is no place for this while driving. Cell phone use while driving is illegal for new drivers, and texting while driving is against the law for all drivers in Wisconsin. Finally, be a role model by practicing the habits you want your teen to develop.

At the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, we believe that even one preventable traffic death is one too many. As you help your teen driver learn good habits behind the wheel, please use this guide to partner with us as we work to achieve our vision of “Zero in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary

Dave Ross

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. In 2015, there were 64% fewer fatal crashes involving teen drivers than there were in 2000 when graduated licensing was enacted. 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