Due to overwhelming public interest, B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) and Kia Motors America (KMA) are expanding the Teen Pro-Active Driving School throughout Southern California in an effort to help reduce the high rate of motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers. In a region with approximately 750,000 potential new drivers between the ages of 16 and 20,[i] B.R.A.K.E.S. training programs will be conducted beginning late May in Costa Mesa, Pomona, San Diego and Fontana. According to a recent study, teens who complete the B.R.A.K.E.S. program are 64 percent less likely to be involved in an accident in their first three years of driving,1 and 84 percent of all B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates since 2011 had no crashes.1
“The leading cause of death for American teens is motor vehicle crashes, and our mission is to prevent injuries and save lives by providing young drivers with the real-life driving experience they need in a safe and controlled environment,” said Doug Herbert, founder of B.R.A.K.E.S. and recipient of the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “Teaching young drivers how to manage potentially dangerous conditions gives them an advantage should they ever encounter similar situations on the road.”
Participating teens and their parents will receive hands-on defensive driving education from B.R.A.K.E.S.’ team of highly skilled professional instructors, which includes former race car drivers, stunt drivers and secret service agents. Instruction, in vehicles provided by Kia, includes a distracted driving course, handling emergency braking situations ─ utilizing anti-lock braking systems, evasive maneuvering and skid-control practice. The program adheres to a low three-to-one student-to-teacher ratio to ensure personal attention is provided to every driver. Parents also participate in the courses to ensure proper driving techniques are reinforced long-term after the training is completed.
Kia is the Official Vehicle and presenting sponsor of the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School and provides a fleet of more than 40 vehicles. With Kia’s support, B.R.A.K.E.S. continues to increase the number of schools offered and expand into new markets.
“Kia places a priority on vehicle safety, and our partnership with B.R.A.K.E.S. reflects our commitment to keep drivers safe on the road, which begins with practical, hands-on driving experience,” said Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications, KMA. “The B.R.A.K.E.S. program has been proved to improve driving skills and help teens make better decisions when behind the wheel. Even if one accident is prevented as a result of this training, that’s a win.”
The B.R.A.K.E.S. Training Curriculum includes the following:
- Accident Avoidance/Slalom: This forces students to make a split-second decision to execute a quick, evasive lane change when encountering an unexpected object without losing control of the vehicle. Students must navigate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning and eye scanning.
- Distracted Driving: The course demonstrates the danger that cell phones, text messaging, and other distractions can pose while driving.
- Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery: The drop-wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover when one or more of their wheels veers off the road surface and onto the shoulder, regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway.
- Panic Stop: The panic-stop course instructs students on proper braking techniques to help stop a vehicle in the shortest distance possible while maintaining control. Students and their parents experience firsthand the pulsating brake pedal effects of Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) and how to control the vehicle when ABS is engaged.
- Car Control and Recovery: A wet skid pad simulates wet-road conditions. Students learn how to recover from both oversteer (rear wheel) and understeer (front wheel) skids.
- Other learning experiences vary by school but can include an eye-opening view from the driver’s seat of a big-rig truck with a discussion about safe zones and blind spots, as well as demonstrations from police and fire-rescue agencies.