What is the START Program and why Should you try it?


Ben Robinson, Reporter

The Tucson Police Department has implemented a driving safety class for Tucson’s licensed teenagers. TPD has been conducting START (Safe Teen Accident Reduction Training) courses for years and it has helped many to learn defensive driving and safe driving tactics. I personally took this short four-five hour course and learned some important safety techniques and was taught effective evasive and defensive driving. Many of my friends and all of my siblings have also taken part in attending this class at least once in their teenage years. It has proven to be fun and very informative – if you attend this class you will learn things that could help you become better at driving and be safer on the road.

The class begins with an hour of classroom instruction and information. Many things were discussed, such as distracted driving and its effects. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, more so than drugs and suicide combined. Distracted driving and inadequate training is the main cause of these accidents. “Experts say that inadequate training is one of the key contributing factors in these accidents. Teens get on our roads with very little behind-the-wheel experience, and they lack most of the skills they need to drive safely. Many teens are also susceptible to the temptations of their electronic devices and other distractions.” This quote is from the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation (SALEF) and was thoroughly researched and is statistically accurate.

The program, when behind the wheel, contains six main exercises; Evasive Steering, Controlled Breaking, Basic Skid Control, Off-Road/Pavement Recovery, Anti-Lock Brake System Familiarization, and a Distracted Driving Simulation.

This program is FREE, however, a $50 donation is suggested so that the program can continue. The classes are scheduled throughout the year from the months of August through May. The Tucson Police Department provides snacks and drinks. They will also provide retired police vehicles to use during the driving portion of the class. “The professional driving instructors from the Tucson Police Department are here to help! The START program provides teen drivers with critical information on decision-making and judgment, and teaches them the basic motor vehicle driving skills related to commonly encountered collision factors.” You will be instructed by active police officers who will keep you safe while you practice new skills that can keep you alive on the roads if something goes wrong.

If you want to attend this course, you can register here: soazlef.org