Hundreds attend Start Smart at Del Norte HS: Program aimed at keeping teen drivers safe on road

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of parents and students packed into the auditorium at Del Norte High School in 4S Ranch on Wednesday for a program aimed at getting teens to stop drinking and texting behind the wheel.

The California Highway Patrol began teaching the Start Smart program in 2005. In 2009, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department followed suit.

Wednesday is the first time the hard hitting program has been on the campus of Del Norte High School. Next year, if a student wants to park on campus, he or she must have a certificate showing they completed the course.

About 400 people were in the auditorium to hear the mother of Poway High School senior Veronica Aguirre speak about her daughter's fatal car crash three years ago while photos of her daughter and her mangled car played on a slide show behind her.

Veronica Aguirre was killed while texting and drinking behind the wheel.

"I'm hoping that it will make a huge impact on the accidents and any kind of recklessness," said Veronica's mother, Cindy Aguirre.

After Aguirre, Cpl. Todd Murphy with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department spoke to students and parents on safe driving practices and also played several pieces of extremely graphic video, including a newer version of "Red Asphalt."

"Really shows what a car collision looks like and what happens to people and their families and that does seem to have an impact on them," said Murphy.

Overall, the message conveyed Wednesday night was rather effective. Many were walking away with a better understanding of what not to do behind the wheel.

"It leaves a very good impression on people who are about to start learning how to drive and people who are driving," said Del Norte student Ierotheos Haloftis.

Parent Dorina Bauer told 10News, "I think it was extremely effective and impactful and frankly applicable to parents as well." 

 

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