Smart Start program unnecessary for responsible student drivers


Cars currently congest the streets around CHS. Though a new parking lot will open soon, the mandatory Smart Start class might deter students from parking in the lot.

Shon Cagungun, staff writer

With our beautiful new campus, Carlsbad High School drivers can look forward to a spacious, and hopefully time-efficient, new parking lot in the 2012-2013 school year. This 400 lot masterpiece should alleviate the parking crisis in the areas surrounding campus. However, our new found ease of parking is conditional, and requires students to take a class before they can use this new convenient amenity.

The administration has recently announced the need for parking permits to park on campus: in order to park in our new lot, the driving population will have to attend a two hour vehicle safety class with their parents.

The Smart Start Program seeks to make sure that teens and parents clearly understand their responsibilities, both on the road and in social situations. The course includes clarification on the terms of provisional licenses, a  brief review of social host ordinances (laws regarding hosting social events) and basic crash prevention. As a whole, it seeks to prevent collisions in the new student lot and increase awareness about proper road behavior.

Administration wants to encourage the student population to drive safely in this new critical transition to an on campus school parking lot. The idea is to turn a population of young inexperienced drivers, into safe, focused, self-aware drivers.

In theory, this is a noble sentiment and some student drivers definitely need an extra review on ‘Not Crashing 101,’ but for the vast majority this is a minor speed bump on the road to poor driving. The installation of a course like this is really just going to be a hurdle for the people who simply could care less about what anyone thinks about their driving or refuse to accept that they drive like a blind preschooler.

Most of the student population will sit in for this class, slowly nodding and pretending to learn while retaining nothing. Old habits die hard.

Also, this feels a little like forced torture for the general well-meaning, highly trained, student drivers of Carlsbad High. We’ve been through Driver’s Ed once, and at first glance, Smart Start seems a little repetitive.  After hours and hours of monotonous reminders to check our mirrors and look both ways, and countless stressful sessions behind the wheel, I think drivers education was adequate to learn crash prevention.

Due to the fact that students will have to jump through hoops and bend over backwards to gain permission to park in the student lot, this ‘solution’ may actually turn out to be a flop. Those students who refuse to participate– which may be a vast majority– will continue to park on the streets surrounding the school, and so the cycle of congestion will continue.

We at the Lancer Link propose a solution: issue the parking permits to all who want them and give us a chance. If we fail to drive properly, revoke them. There’s no denying that a course is needed for anyone who drive poorly. However, the student population at large should not be inconvenienced for students who choose to drive recklessly.

For an opposing viewpoint on this issue, check out the editorial in the next edition of Lancer Express, due out on Tues., Feb. 7.