SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Teenage drivers are at greater risk of being involved in a fatal car crash due to distractions and inexperience behind the wheel. To help teens stay safe behind the wheel, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is offering the Start Smart teen driver safety education class to help address the dangers typically encountered by this age group.
Between federal fiscal years 2020 and 2022, there was a combined total of 21,308 fatal and injury crashes within CHP jurisdiction involving at least one teen driver between the ages of 15 and 19. Unfortunately, fatal and injury crashes increased by nearly 10% over that time, which indicates it is essential to improve the education of teenage drivers and their parents/guardians to help enhance road safety.
Start Smart is a free two-hour class aimed at informing new drivers of the responsibilities that accompany the privilege of being a licensed California driver. Parents or guardians are required to attend with their teenage driver as they participate in this class, which is conducted by public information officers at local CHP Area offices. Completion of this course may lower the cost of a young driver’s vehicle insurance.
“Every decision a teen driver makes behind the wheel has the potential to impact their future and the lives of those around them,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “TheStart Smart program has been instrumental in educating new drivers and their parents/guardians in an effort to save lives.”
Parents and teenagers can register for a Start Smart class by contacting their local CHP Area office. More information about program and California’s provisional licensing law can be found on the free CHP Start Smart app, which is available for both iOS and Android. This mobile app includes access to the California Driver Handbook and a trip logger to track driving time as teens prepare to obtain their driver’s license.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.