MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A defensive teenage driving school, created after a professional race car driver lost his two sons in a car crash, took over a Mid-South racetrack this weekend, in a bid to prevent other families experience the same tragedy.
Fatal car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among adolescents in the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doug Herbert’s sons Jon and James were killed in January 2008, according to the BRAKES website.
The acronym stood for Being Responsible and Keeping Everyone Safe.
The loss of Herbert inspired him to create a driving program aimed at saving lives by “teaching young drivers more conscientious and confident driving skills,” according to the organization’s website.
On Sunday at Memphis International Raceway, what may have looked like an out of control car was actually an education.
“Driving is hand-eye coordination, so we show them how to better use their eyes,” said Jeremy Birch, a BRAKES instructor.
“When (teens) leave they are 64% less likely to be in a car accident,” he said.
The course simulated various road hazards, such as off-road drifting and recovering from a skid.
15-year-old Amelia Matlock drove the course under the watchful eye of her mother, Laura.
“I kind of know what to expect, especially for the skid,” said Amelia Matlock.
As part of the course, Birch said, drivers also wore “drunk glasses,” which simulated what it would be like to drive while impaired. on a calculator to simulate texting and driving.
Each of the tasks were things the instructors hoped to open the eyes of teens to the danger of doing it on the road, Birch said.
“(Amelia) will walk away with more confidence. She does things here that we wouldn’t normally do, ”said Laura Matlock.
All of this, tens and thousands of dollars spent in a single weekend, Birch said, in an effort to save teenage lives.
The brake driving school will be heading to Detroit next weekend.
You can find out more about the BRAKES Driving School, a 501 (c) (3) organization, by visiting their website here.
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