At this weekend’s NHRA Winternationals at the auto Club Raceway at Pomona, 14-time NHRA national champion motorcycle drag racer Terry Vance donated $1 million to Doug Herbert’s B.R.A.K.E.S. teen driver safety program.
In recent years, seven teens died in car crashes every single day. Yet, driver training requirements in the United States are rudimentary at best. Former former NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert launched the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School to provide advanced driver training for teens after the tragic deaths of his sons in a crash in 2008. Since then, the B.R.A.K.E.S. program has trained nearly 35,000 teens from 45 different states to operate vehicles safely.
Kia is the title sponsor of the school, and helps to make the training completely free for teens, though B.R.A.K.E.S. does require a nominal, refundable deposit to guarantee a space for training.
Terry Vance is a legend in motorcycle drag racing. Along with his 14 championship titles, he is a title-winning team owner, and co-founder of aftermarket motorcycle performance parts manufacturer Vance & Hines.
“Terry and I have been friends for years, and we have a lot in common,” said Herbert. “Besides loving racing, driving and riding, we’re also parents, and we both recognize that protecting our kids and setting them up for success in life is the single greatest accomplishment you can ever aspire to. Thanks to Terry’s generosity, the charity that I founded to honor my sons is going to help a lot more teens and parents nationwide. ”
Vance, attended B.R.A.K.E.S.’ intensive half-day defensive driver training program with both of his own sons and said, “As a parent, every time your kid goes out the door, especially if they’re getting into a car, you want to know that you’ve done everything in your power to help them get back home safe. B.R.A.K.E.S. training does that. It gives teens skills and knowledge that we all know they’ll need on the street, and it stresses the importance of making good decisions to avoid trouble in the first place. I think every teen should go through B.R.A.K.E.S. That’s why my wife and I are making this donation to help Doug’s program keep expanding and saving lives, and we hope to inspire others to do the same.”
Just about everybody who gets a driver’s license takes driver’s ed., but those programs only teach the basic rudiments required to pass a driving test. To really learn how a car reacts under real traffic conditions, teens need years of trial-and-error, on-street driving experience, but with the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) Teen Pro-Active Driving School, they get up to speed quickly by spending time with skilled instructors in a closed, safe environment.
Kia funds B.R.A.K.E.S. through a 501(c)(3) charity, making it completely free for teens who register.
The CDC recommends that parents make teens aware of the eight leading causes of teen crashes:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
The B.R.A.K.E.S. school tackles many of these leading factors head-on, on a closed course with exercises that young drivers will encounter in the traffic, such as accident avoidance, recovering after a wheel drops off the pavement, skid management in wet conditions, panic braking and driver distraction.
Each course is four hours long, and includes time in the car with a trained instructor.
Motor vehicle crashes are the single leading killer of 14- to 18-year-olds in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2011, 2,650 teens in the United States aged 16 to 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Almost 292,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in car crashes. By taking advantage of this free program, parents can give their driving teens significantly more training than a typical driver’s ed. course provides.
The 501(c)(3) charity’s free advanced driver training is coming to facilities in both the East and West halves of the country.
If you or someone you know has a teen, enroll in the program today. To get on a list in your city, visit http://putonthebrakes.org/