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CHP Encourages Teens and Parents to “Start Smart” and Stay Safe

October 22, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. The chance of a teen being involved in a collision is at a lifetime high within the first two years of driving. These odds are substantially reduced when high-risk driving behaviors are eliminated. The two-hour Start Smart class can help eliminate these behaviors by providing teens driver education, developed specifically to address high risk driving behaviors observed every day by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers.

Designed for newly licensed teen drivers and their parents, the CHP’s Start Smart program is a two hour driver safety education class that is conducted throughout the state. The free program was revised by the CHP in 2014 and incorporates innovative techniques to capture the attention of teens and parents, providing a lasting experience.

“This course is designed to encourage safe driving behaviors early on,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “The Start Smart curriculum reinforces that while driving is a great privilege, it comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility.”

The Start Smart curriculum includes information on collision statistics, teen driver and passenger behaviors, Graduated Driver License (GDL) law, cultural changes in today’s society, and the need for stronger parental involvement in a teen’s driving experience. During the course, officers and speakers illustrate the critical responsibilities of safe driving and collision avoidance techniques . Parents are also reminded of their responsibility to teach their new driver and model good driving behavior.

Parents and teenagers can register for a “Start Smart” class by contacting their local CHP office. To locate a CHP office near you, visit, and discover how a two-hour class can save a life. For more information about Start Smart and the GDL program, download the CHP Start Smart app, available in the Apple App Store.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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