Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In fact, the chance of a teen being involved in a crash is highest during their first two years of driving. The California Highway Patrol, with the support of the grant-funded Start Smart Teen Driver Safety Education Program XIV, is working to help inexperienced drivers identify and eliminate high-risk driving behaviors.

Facilitated by CHP officers, the two-hour Start Smart course engages newly licensed teenage drivers and their parents or guardians in candid conversations on topics such as techniques to avoid crashes and the dangers of excessive speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving.

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

Parents and teenagers can register for a Start Smart class by contacting their local CHP Area office. More information about Start Smart and California’s provisional licensing law also is available on the free CHP Start Smart mobile app for Android and iOS devices. 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.