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Why kartSTART gives kids as young as 10 an early start behind the wheel

Aug 22, 2018

Being behind the wheel for the first time can be nerve-wracking. It isn’t until drivers hold the wheel, foot on the gas pedal and the gear in drive that they can understand what it feels like to have the power and control of a vehicle. And that’s why kartSTART puts kids in the driver’s seat early.

Led by semi-retired professional race car driver, Russ Bond, and sponsored by Toyota Canada, the kartSTART program travels across the country each summer, helping 10 to 16 year old kids establish an early foundation for safe and responsible driving. The program takes participants through safety-oriented sessions that are led by expert instructors – both in a classroom and on the road in a closed course environment. On the road, kids get behind the wheel of a car just their size (a go-kart!) and learn how different components such as the throttle, brakes and steering work – and, more importantly, how they function together.

An aerial view of the race track at kartSTART 2018

Race karts on the track at kartSTART 2018

Bond and his team of professional driving instructors are passionate advocates for teaching kids the physics and dynamics of driving, and giving them the tools needed to maintain control of a vehicle.  “Driving is a learned talent, and the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it,” said Russ Bond, founder of kartSTART, presented by Toyota. “With distracted driving at an all-time high, and a lack of understanding of the true responsibility of operating a motor vehicle by young drivers, anything we can do to establish a strong foundation of responsible and safe driving habits in a fun way is beyond rewarding.”

New to this year’s program, kartSTART introduced a professionally-designed go-kart made accessible for kids with physical disabilities affecting the lower body so that they can participate, too.

Interestingly, the kartSTART program isn’t just about the kids. Parents and guardians are also actively involved in the program as they get to experience Toyota’s advanced vehicle safety technologies put into action. Sessions are interactive and include guided scenarios where they learn how the Toyota Star Safety System and driver’s safe on the road, with features like Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.

Missed out on the fun this year? Be sure to keep an eye out for registrations next year on the kartSTART website.

Participants pose at kartSTART 2018

2018 kartSTART

kartSTART 2018