BRAKES program teaching teen drivers in Kansas again this year


When NHRA drag racing star Doug Herbert lost his two young sons, Jon and James, in a tragic car crash in January of 2008, his grief led to his resolve to create a driving program to help teens know what to do in an emergency. That program has dates in Kansas this month.

“Through BRAKES, we’re able to get them to be comfortable behind the wheel,” said KHP Trooper Don Hughes. “That’s a whole lot of it. If you can get somebody to be comfortable and relaxed behind the wheel, they can handle stressful situations when they come up.”

BRAKES classes are typically four sessions for each weekend, with classes offered from 8 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

“Put them in a car and let them drive with some professional drivers,” said Hughes. “Well trained people, in the field. These are who I would want my kids to learn how to drive from. I wish I would have had this resource when my kids were young.”

It’s important for kids to hear the safety message from someone other than their parents.

“We’ll explain why it’s important to wear a seatbelt, why it’s important to be comfortable and a safe distance away from the wheel, for that airbag to deploy,” said Hughes. “How to recover if your vehicle drops a wheel off the road. We’ll explain ABS, which is an anti-lock brake system and how that works in a car and how it should feel.”

Register for the classes at the Stormont-Vail Events Center in Topeka on August 10-11 or the classes at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas August 24-25 at