Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Putting on the B.R.A.K.E.S

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Putting on the B.R.A.K.E.S

Article excerpt

A local event this weekend was planned with the goal of helping young drivers stay safe on the road.

“I don’t want any other parent to get the phone call that I got that their kids aren’t coming home because they were killed in a car crash,” said former NHRA drag racing champion Doug Herbert.

Herbert was at the Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka over the weekend helping to train area teenagers in defensive driving techniques and to tell his story.

In 2008, Herbert lost his two sons, Jon and James, in a car accident. He established B.R.A.K.E.S., which stands for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe, to educate teens and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving.

“We want them to think a little more, to make better decisions to avoid getting in a bad place to start with,” Herbert said.

To date, the program has trained nearly 37,000 teenagers in 23 states across the country. Using vehicles provided by Kia Motors, B.R.A.K.E.S. offers new drivers extensive behind-the-wheel instruction from professional trainers, current and former law enforcement officers, and professional race car drivers.

Teen drivers participated in exercises in distracted driving awareness, panic braking, crash avoidance, drop-wheel and off-road recovery and car control and skid recovery.

“Car crashes are the number one cause of death among

teens, more than from murder, suicide or disease,” Herbert said.

The curriculum goes beyond what most new drivers would learn in a conventional driver’s education course by addressing situations that are statistically responsible for most accidents involving inexperienced drivers. B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates are 64 percent less likely to get in a crash within their first three years of driving.

“I hear it all the time. My kid’s a good kid. It doesn’t matter. When you’re a teenager, you think you’re bulletproof,” Herbert said. …

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