Kids learn road safety behind the wheel of a go-kart

Creating a safer new wave of future drivers while having fun was the name of the game over the weekend at Westerner Park where the kartSTART program was shifting gears,

Presented by Toyota, the event gives kids, teens and their families a real world understanding behind the physics of driving motorized vehicles.

Kids as young as 10 were able to drive specialized go-karts through a course designed for different maneuvers.

Founder Russ Bond says the idea is to get young people starting their driving careers early.

“You can’t put them in 4000 pound cars, so we’ve got go-karts. They get one-on-one instruction and we let them out there and get them to drive around safely, one pedal at a time, and give them a basic understanding of what driving is like,” Bond says.

“The first thing you want to teach them is that it’s not a video game. This is real, and there’s no reset button, so you want them to understand how serious this is.”

Bond says while they’ve experienced many driving errors on their cross-country tour from drivers of all ages, teenagers still need the most additional instruction.

“Nobody’s going to say the level of driving instruction in this country is good enough,” he adds. “Anything you can do to make it safer is a good thing.”

Bond noted that his team has with them this year three accessible go-karts for kids who need one, and that they continue to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters in various communities including Red Deer.

The kartSTART program presented by Toyota reaches approximately 1300 kids nationwide and 160 in Red Deer.