“Start Smart”

Start Smart teen driving program by the San Diego County Sheriffs Department

The Start Smart Program is an opportunity for new drivers and their parents/guardians to clearly understand their responsibilities when a teen starts to drive. Taught by trained law enforcement personnel, it creates awareness of possible consequences, both financial and physical, of distracted or impaired driving, and provides applicable information about collision prevention. The class also clarifies the restrictions of the Provisional License Law and touches on social host ordinances. The often-graphic videos and daunting statistics provide a powerful reality check that lingers long after the classroom instruction.

Following the two-hour class, each teen is presented a certificate of completion along with a custom-designed key-chain bearing the theme of the Teen Safe Driving Program, which will serve as a reminder each time he or she starts the car. This is a concerted effort intended to reduce the risks associated with teen driving.

We encourage you to contact your local Sheriff’s station to sign up for a Start Smart class in your area. A schedule of upcoming classes appears below.

Descripcion del programa en Espanol


Registration Required: (619) 659-2608

No classes scheduled at this time

Registration Required: (760) 451-3121

No classes scheduled at this time

Additional Info: (619) 498-2453
Imperial Beach Branch Library
810 Imperial Beach Blvd., Imperial Beach
Register at the door
Registration Required: (619) 337-2058

No classes scheduled at this time

RSVP to startsmartdriving@gmail.com

No classes scheduled at this time

Note: The classes at San Dieguito Academy are for students that attend any schools in the San Dieguito Union High School District and parents only.

Additional Information: (858) 513-2818

Poway High School has temporarily suspended the requirement for the Start Smart course, and all Start Smart classes are on hold.

Registration Required: (760) 787-4000
6:30 p.m.
Ramona High School
1401 Hanson Lane, Ramona
Registration Required: (619) 660-7090

No classes scheduled at this time

Additional Info: (760) 744-1050

Tue, Aug 11, 2020
Wed, Aug 26, 2020

Additional Info: (619) 956-4034

No classes scheduled at this time

Register at door / Bring a parent
Valley Center High School
31322 Cole Grade Rd., Valley Center
Registration Required: (760) 940-4551

No classes scheduled at this time


"The meeting had a lot of great information and I believe left a positive impression upon my daughter who will be getting her permit soon. I hope more high schools mandate students to take your course in order to gain parking privileges. Truly seeing the effects of distracted and impaired driving in the videos and other presentations does a far better job than any one parent telling their child to ‘drive safe.’"

"Thank you for such a GREAT presentation. I think it really helped reinforce what we’ve been preaching to my daughter. Thanks again and keep up the great community service!"

"Thank you so much for hosting the Smart Start program last night. It was awesome! We all enjoyed it and found it very informative."

"Thanks for the class; that was quite moving for me."

"The impact emotionally was quite apparent. Tissue time… Your guest speaker deserves a lot of thanks."

"I want to thank you and the rest of the team for putting on the Smart Start presentation last night. My daughter (as was I) was very humbled and thoughtful afterwards so I hope it sticks! Please thank the rest of the team for us as well."

"Last night’s class was amazing, scary and so real. My daughter came away from there saying she doesn’t want to drive! I am SOOOO ok with that!!! I told her it is good to be scared, because that means she understands how dangerous a car can be if you are not paying attention. Thank you so much, please let us know when you are having another one, I will encourage more parents to attend with their children."

"Thank you for offering this program to our teens. You were awesome!"

"I know our son walked away from the class taking driving more seriously and has a better understanding of the severe consequences for making bad choices behind the wheel."

"I hope that all East County high schools make this a mandatory class for teen drivers."

"Hopefully the Sheriff’s Department can afford to make educating teen drivers a priority in these tough economic times; it’s very much worth it!"

"Thank you again for your dedication and compassion in keeping our loved ones safe!"

"We have been telling everyone we come across the benefits of the information they would receive from attending this class."

"Thank you again for the opportunity to experience this with my teen driver."

"After seeing the videos and getting this information from the deputy I know that I will be a good driver when I get my license."

"This workshop has taught me how I can teach [my son] so that I can feel more confident about letting him have the car."