Every year, too many teens die in car accidents. According to the Put On the Brakes program, 5,000 teens die each year in the U.S. from traffic-related car accidents.
And that’s why B.R.A.K.E.S. was born.
Doug Herbert is a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing star who started B.R.A.K.E.S. after his sons, Jon and James, died in a highway car accident in January 2008. He turned his grief into positive action by developing a driving program to help prevent other families from experiencing tragic loss through traffic accidents. Herbert’s program focuses on teaching young drivers to be more conscientious and confident behind the wheel.
B.R.A.K.E.S. stands for “Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe.” It’s a 501(c) 3 organization that provides free advanced driver’s education through the program’s, Teen Pro-Active Driving Course. The course is designed to be an advanced level of driver training by teaching more in-depth defensive driving. According to B.R.A.K.E.S.’s website, the program’s purpose is “to prevent injuries and save lives by training and educating teenage drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving.”
Specifically, teens are required to have their learner’s permit or their driver’s license before they can participate in the program. And the course goes beyond conventional driver’s education by addressing driving situations responsible for many teen traffic accidents. Here are the situations that the program focuses on:
- Accident Avoidance uses a slalom course to teach advanced steering control
- Distraction Exercise develops increased driving focus and concentration
- Wheel Drop-Off Recovery Exercise teaches proper steering method of retaining a car’s control when a wheel pops off on a highway shoulder
- Panic Stop Exercise gives teens safer and more controlled responses when braking in an emergency
- Car Control and Recovery Exercise teaches driving skills on wet or icy roads.
Currently, over 8,000 students and their parents have attended the B.R.A.K.E.S. program across 17 states. The local Teen Pro-Active Driving Course is held at Manheim Auto Auction in Manheim, Pa. Area sponsors of the program include Clayton Stitzel, Barry Eaton, John Crispeno, Jason Hondru, Paul Williams, Tony Manley, Dave Husser, and Georgio Salgado. Hondru Auto Company donates the cars that are used during the program.
To learn more about the B.R.A.K.E.S. program and to sign up for the next event at the Manheim Auto Auction, go to www.putonthebrakes.com and look for the tabs, “Driving Schools” and “Schedule.”