Teen Driver Safety

Teen driver sitting in a car

New Driver Safety Class

For more information on the Smart Start Program or to register for this class, please call the Santa Barbara Area CHP office at: (805) 967-1234. This class is free and about two hours long. 

The first year of licensure for teens is among the most exciting and dangerous of their lives. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens. With more than 12 young people losing their lives in car crashes each day.

As their parents, we want to keep them safe—and we can, if we understand the risks teenagers face. We can help them beat the odds by staying involved as they gain experience over that first year, as they transition from novice to experienced driver.

If you are under 18 years of age, your risk of a fatal accident is about 2.5 times that of the average driver and your risk of an injury accident is three times higher than the average driver. There is no substitute for a parent's guidance as teens learn to drive. Be the coach your teen needs you to be.

California teen drivers are found at fault in 66 percent of all fatal collisions they are involved in, although they represent only four percent of the State’s licensed drivers. California has the second highest fatality rate involving drivers between the ages of 15-20, and motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for Americans in this age bracket.

Tips for Parents

Teen holding Safe Kids logo sign
  • A written, signed agreement (some call it a contract) with your teen is a great way to help reduce crash risk. It can be very simple, and created on your own. A written document is the best way to ensure the agreement is effective. (Read an example of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement)
  • Make sure you set clear expectations and that you both understand how these expectations can change over time.
  • Restrictions should be set early in the process and relaxed later, as your teen gets more experience on the road.
  • It should contain restrictions, privileges, rules and consequences. It is a reference, making it hard for either you or your teen to “forget” or bend the rules.
  • This written agreement might also include financial issues, personal safety, maintenance procedures and a schedule for sharing the car with the rest of the family.
  • You should mold it to fit your family’s needs, but keeping the document as simple as possible will help you focus on the most important issue: driving safety.
  • Stay involved with your teen driver. Share your experiences—challenges, tactics, tips, and what’s working for you—with other parents.

Start Smart Program

“After spending years protecting your children from all sorts of dangers on the road and off, you now face the prospect of handing them the keys to the family car. It's time for them to learn how to drive. Are you prepared? We can help you mold your teen into a safe and capable driver.” (NHSTA, 2020)

In this free, 2 hour online class that discusses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers. This class speaks directly to newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians through candid conversations, discussing topics such as collision avoidance techniques along with collision causing elements such as excessive speed, DUI (Alcohol & Marijuana), and distracted driving.

For reservations, information or questions, please contact the Santa Barbara CHP office at (805) 967-1234 from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

Teen Drivers Webinar Series

Impact Teen Drivers logo

Join us for online parent-teen workshops designed to teach strategies that will keep teens safe on the road.

See the Schedule

Upcoming Events