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CHP encourages teens and parents to Start Smart and Stay Safe

November 1, 2018

CALIFORNIA – Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, a dangerous situation the California Highway Patrol (CHP) addresses with its Start Smart program. Designed for newly licensed or soon-to-be-licensed teen drivers and their parents, Start Smart is a two-hour driver safety class conducted throughout the state at no charge to the participants. It incorporates innovative techniques to capture the attention of teens and parents, providing a lasting experience.

“The Start Smart program exists to save young lives as they begin their journey at the wheel,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “It also emphasizes that driving is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility.”

The chances of a teen being involved in a collision are at a lifetime high within the first two years of driving. The Start Smart class can help eliminate high-risk behaviors by providing education developed specifically to address unsafe actions observed every day by CHP officers.

The curriculum is based on collision statistics, teen driver and passenger behaviors, Graduated Driver License (GDL) law, cultural changes, and the need for strong parental involvement in a teen’s driving experience. During the course, officers and other speakers illustrate the critical responsibilities of safe driving and collision-avoidance techniques. Parents and guardians 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, visit and discover how a two-hour class can save a life. More information about Start Smart and the GDL program is available on the CHP’s Start Smart mobile application, available for the iOS and Android platforms at no charge.

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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