The national free teen defensive driving program B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) will head to the Missouri Safety Center at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) in Warrensburg on Saturday and Sunday (September 15-16).

The facts: Car crashes are the number-one cause of death among teens, ending more young lives every day than murder, suicide or disease. The result: B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates are 64 percent less likely to get in a crash within the next three years. Space is limited, and seats are filling quickly. Online registration is available at

The 501(c)(3) charity was founded by drag racing champion Doug Herbert, who started B.R.A.K.E.S after losing sons Jon and James in a car crash in 2008. Turning this tragedy into a lifesaving mission, the program has trained over 33,000 teens around the country.

Utilizing vehicles provided by Kia Motors and with partial funding from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the B.R.A.K.E.S. program offers teens extensive behind-the-wheel instruction by ex-law enforcement and professional racing drivers, teaching new drivers and their parents how to be safer on the road. Exercises include Distracted Driving Awareness, Panic Braking, Crash Avoidance, Drop Wheel/Off-road Recovery, and Car Control/Skid Recovery.

“Car crashes are the number-one cause of death among teens across the country, but I never knew that until Jon and James became part of those statistics,” said Herbert. “From that tragedy, we created a mission to prevent injuries and save lives by training teens and their parents to be safer behind the wheel. We’re truly grateful to our friends at the Kansas Department of Transportation for helping us bring our lifesaving training to the area and make the Kansas roads a little safer for everyone.”

Advanced Driver Training
B.R.A.K.E.S. is NOT Driver’s Ed. It is a FREE, hands-on, advanced driver training program taught by professional instructors, including current and former members of law enforcement, professional racers and stunt drivers. B.R.A.K.E.S. maintains a low three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio to maximize educational effectiveness.

B.R.A.K.E.S. training is proven effective. A study by University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Professor Emeritus Dr. Paul Friday showed that B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates are 64% less likely to experience a crash in the first three years of driving when compared with non-graduate peers.

Each weekend B.R.A.K.E.S. school includes four identical sessions to allow parents and teens to pick one that will fit into their busy schedules. Each session includes four hours of training, starting with a short, 45-minute classroom presentation followed by nearly three hours behind the wheel of new Kia vehicles.

Courses include distracted driving awareness, panic braking, drop-wheel/off-road recovery, crash avoidance and car control/skid recovery – all of the biggest causes of crashes for new drivers. Other educational elements often include ‘Big Rig’ safety, first responder vehicle extrication demonstration, and what to do in the event of a traffic stop.

Warrensburg will be the first of three stops in the region for the B.R.A.K.E.S. team. Schools are also planned for Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka (September 22-23) and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (October 27-28).