The Kids Are Alright…ish
Every generation worries about the one that comes after it; about the choice they make, or the media they consume (or their particularly reckless driving habits).
Juvenoia (or the exaggerated fear of youth and youth culture) has been a societal staple for so long, even Greek philosopher Plato bellyached about “kids these days.” Of course, considering he lived a solid 2,400 years ago, and that you (statistically, a former teenager) now exist to read this, we can probably say with confidence that the kids are, in fact, “alright.” Right? Well… kind of. In 2018, there is at least one key difference: the youth of yesteryear never learned to drive alongside passengers twittering away on Snapchat. (Don’t worry, we checked. Plato never complained about Instagram.)
Enter Start Smart, a special safety program developed by the California Highway Patrol, to prepare our newest generation of young drivers for the dangers they’ll face on the road.
A Brush With The Law (In A Good Way)
According to the CHP, “Start Smart is aimed at helping newly licensed—or soon to be licensed—teenage drivers (15-19) become more aware of the responsibilities that accompany the privilege of being a licensed California driver.”
“The newly licensed teenage driver and their parents/guardians are invited to attend and participate in a free 2 hour long Start Smart class usually hosted at a local California Highway Patrol (CHP) office. CHP officers speak directly to the newly licensed driver and their parents/guardians through candid conversations, discussing topics such as collision avoidance techniques along with collision causing elements such as excessive speed, DUI, and distracted driving. Start Smart makes teens and parents aware of the responsibilities they face and teaches what precautions to take to stay safe; such as the importance of seat belt unsafe, passengers in the vehicle and what to do when involved in a collision.”
Nationwide, car accidents are the leading cause of death among youth ages 16-19. A study of crash statistics shows that 43% of first year drivers, and 37% of second year drivers, are involved in crashes. According to Safe Roads Alliance, a four-year study showed that attendance of Advanced Driver Training successfully reduced the rate of fatalities among first-year drivers to 4.6%.
In 2015, 2,333 teens (an average of 6 per day) in that age group lost their lives, and a further 235,845 were admitted to hospitals, as a result of injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes.
The majority of teen collisions are the result of distracted driving. When picturing distracted driving, most people’s minds immediately jump to cell phone use, but a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed the most common culprit to be the passengers sitting beside us. For teens, this risk is particularly great.
“A teen driver is twice as likely to be killed in a collision while carrying just one passenger,” reveals the CHP on its Smart Start webpage, “regardless of whether the passenger is a friend or a sibling. Carrying two passengers increases the risk of collision by 158 percent, and three passengers increases risk by 207 percent.”
The Road Less Traveled
The Thousand Oaks Police Department will be hosting the next Start Smart Program on August 30, 2018. Per Senior Deputy Damian Alvarez, “Interested parents are asked to call the Thousand Oaks Police Department Traffic Bureau at (805) 494-8271 for more information and to make a reservation. Space is limited to 25 students and their parents. There is no charge to attend the program.”
“A driver license comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a 2015 statement. “Start Smart prepares new drivers and their parents for the challenges that lie ahead. Ultimately, the goal is to save lives by producing safe drivers through education.”
With Smart Start, we hope young drivers will take the road less travelled—the one of safe and responsible driving choices.
That would make all the difference.
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“Start Smart Young Adult Drivers Program Offered August 30th, 2018.” Nextdoor. Retrieved 31 July 2018. https://nextdoor.com/agency-post/ca/thousand-oaks/thousand-oaks-police-department/start-smart-young-adult-drivers-program-offered-august-30th-2018-87346634/
“Start Smart: Driving Smart to Stay Safe.” California Highway Patrol. Retrieved 31 July 2018. https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/programs/youth-programs/start-smart-driving-smart-to-stay-safe
“Teen Drivers: Get the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 31 July 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
“The Balance Dangers of Distracted Driving: Definition, Stats and Risks for Teens.” The Balance. Retrieved 31 July 2018. https://www.thebalance.com/distracted-driving-teens-2645865
“Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess the Prevalence of Environmental Factors and Driver Behaviors in Teen Driver Crashes.” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Retrieved 31 July 2018. http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/TeenCrashCausation_2015_FINALREPORT.pdf