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CHP Start Smart Program Targets Teen Drivers

Start Smart: CHP Program Aimed at Teens

National Teen Driver Safety Week just wrapped up, and in response, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced its 2020 program for newly licensed teen drivers and their parents.  It’s called Start Smart and due to the pandemic, it is only available online for the time being.

Teen drivers are at the greatest risk for danger on the road when compared to any other age group.  The risks arise from a combination of inexperience, distracted driving habits, and probably some element of feeling immortal.  The CHP’s Start Smart program, which is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is aimed at helping young drivers learn how to eliminate high-risk behaviors and lessen the chances that they will be involved in a crash.

Details of the Start Smart Program

The Start Smart program is starting out online only for 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is a two-hour course that has been designed specifically to reduce car crashes that cause severe injuries and fatalities.  The program is free of charge.  It incorporates techniques designed to hold the attention of teens and parents, while at the same time addressing common dangers associated with driving.

The curriculum used for the Start Smart program is based on teen driver and passenger behaviors, collision statistics, Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws, and the need for strong parent involvement in new driver education.  The program reminds parents and guardians of their responsibility to model good driving behavior and to be involved in teaching their new driver.

To register for a Start Smart class, contact your local CHP office.  The CHP also has a Start Smart mobile app which includes information about the program.  It is available for iOS and Android devices.  The app includes information on GDL laws and provides access to the California Driver Handbook.  It also has a trip logger which allows the user to keep track of the driving time necessary to obtain a driver’s license.

Teen Driver Safety Week: OTS Tips

In its own press release related to Teen Driver Safety Week, the OTS outlined the following tips for new drivers and their parents/guardians:

  • Beware of Distractions: Using a cell phone while driving is against the law.  Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a phone for any reason, even hands-free.
  • Understand GDL Laws: If you are under the age of 18, you are not allowed to have passengers under the age of 20 for the first 12 months after you get your driver’s license unless a licensed parent, guardian, or another adult who is at least 25 years old is also in the car.  Driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. is prohibited.
  • Driving Under the Influence:  California has a zero-tolerance law.  Any driver under the age of 21 cannot drink any amount of alcohol (BAC .01% or higher) and drive.
  • Speeding: Road racing is a problem.  Excessive speed increases the risks of serious injury or fatalities.  Obey the posted speed limits.

Parents should let teens know that driving is a privilege, not a right and that the privilege will be revoked if the rules are not followed.

Watch the YouTube video.  Below is a news clip reporting on 2019’s in-person Start Smart classes.

Rocklin Personal Injury Lawyer

Hello.  Thanks for reading.  I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Rocklin, California.  Automobile accidents are an unfortunately frequent occurrence on our roads and highways.  If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car crash caused by a negligent driver, my office can provide free and friendly advice.  Call us at (916) 921-9600 or (800) 404-5400.  If appropriate, we can then set up a no-obligation consultation with one of our case managers or injury lawyers to go over your case.

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