Keep Your Teens Safe With the BRAKES Training Program

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For parents with teenage drivers, their child’s safety is a primary concern. Amidst the worrying, the best way for parents to ensure their teen’s safety is by educating them about road safety as best as possible.
Here’s where the classic driver’s education comes in. While driver’s ed teaches the rules of the road, teens may still need more preparation to learn how to deal with everyday, emergency driving situations.
Jerry has the breakdown here for you on what the B.R.A.K.E.S. program does.

What is B.R.A.K.E.S. ?

Student driver at stoplight with yellow sign on roof of car that reads “drivers education.”
B.R.A.K.E.S. is one driver’s education program that might help your teen driver
The need for dealing with those real-life scenarios is where B.R.A.K.E.S. was born. Doug Herbert, former NHRA fuel drag racer, shared the story of his teen defensive driving course with The Drive.
B.R.A.K.E.S. stands for “Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe.” Doug Herbert started the program after a family tragedy. Herbert’s two sons, Jon (17) and James (12), died in a 2008 head-on collision where Jon was reportedly driving recklessly.
Following the crash, Herbert felt duty bound to ensure that other parents wouldn’t experience the same loss. Initially, he started by holding defensive driving classes just for his sons’ friends, but interest quickly grew.
Today, the class is a four-hour program, with one hour spent in the classroom and three hours in KIA provided cars dealing with an obstacle course of challenges.
Since Herbert’s focus has always been educating teens and parents, the program remains free for participants. He does ask for a $99 deposit that is refundable upon request, but many participants gladly donate the deposit to keep the program operating.

The benefits of B.R.A.K.E.S.

While defensive driving classes have long been a valuable tool for adults, similar options for teens have typically been limited.
A defensive driving class with B.R.A.K.E.S. offers hands-on experience dealing with a host of everyday and emergency driving conditions and situations.
The goal is for teens to be informed when these situations arise in the course of their everyday driving. Preparedness and education will hopefully mean that teens will remain calm when faced with driving emergencies.
In addition, by taking the course, teens will learn of the repercussions of careless driving and hopefully be dissuaded from engaging in those behaviors.
Parents also benefit twofold from the program. First, parents participate and learn valuable skills that they can demonstrate when driving, in-turn setting a good example for their kids.
Second, they feel empowered knowing that their teens are on the road equipped with the know-how to keep themselves and others safe on the road.
Coupled with driver’s education classes, defensive driving offers the whole package to educate and inform new teen drivers.
Driver’s ed typically focuses on the mechanics of driving, rules, and exam preparedness. Courses like B.R.A.K.E.S. allow teens to experience and plan for emergency driving scenarios.

How many teens have taken the driver’s education program?

According to The Drive, as of June of this year, over 45,000 teens have completed the program.
Not only that, but since Herbert requires that at least one parent attend with their teen, the overall numbers are even higher.

Attendance requirements

  • Teens must have at least 30 hours of prior driving experience.
  • One parent maximum can attend with their teen.
  • Teens must have a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  • Age requirement: teens need to be aged 15-19 in all states except North Carolina, where the ages are 16-20.
Drivers of all ages need reliable car insurance, especially if you’re adding a teen driver to your policy.
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