BRISTOL — Doug Herbert by no means needs anybody else to undergo the struggling he felt after tragically shedding his sons in a automotive crash in 2008.
After the accident, the drag racing star established BRAKES (Be Accountable And Maintain All people Protected), a teen protected driving program. It goes past commonplace driver’s schooling with a curriculum that addresses many conditions liable for accidents involving youngsters.
This system, which has been featured in PEOPLE journal and on nationwide tv, has skilled greater than 45,000 teenagers from 46 states and 5 nations. On June 5-6, the free program involves Bristol Motor Speedway from 8 a.m. to six p.m. on Saturday and eight a.m. to three p.m. on Sunday.
There are testimonials from coast-to-coast about how the coaching has saved lives. Analysis from the College of North Carolina reveals that teenagers who’ve taken the course are 64% much less prone to get into an auto accident.
“It’s simply superb. It’s nice to know my boys are serving to affect and make a distinction with different households,” Herbert mentioned. “On the finish of the day, it’s good to know that different dad and mom aren’t getting the decision that I bought. We attempt to make it enjoyable as they’re studying. We’re educating them extra than simply abilities driving the automotive, however educating them to make good selections.”
Herbert, a six-time IHRA High Gas winner at Bristol Dragway, was the primary driver to clock a pace over 300 mph at Thunder Valley. He additionally had high-speed crashes in his race automotive together with blowing a tire on the finish of the observe in Topeka, Kansas. Nonetheless, Herbert’s rocket is designed with a roll cage and different options that road vehicles aren’t outfitted with.
His sons, Jon and James, have been ages 17 and 12 after they crashed at 80 mph. Their automotive struck one other automobile, sending it off the street and leaving it a twisted piece of wreckage.
Every class begins with a video displaying their wrecked automotive and Herbert recounting the tragic day that his life modified instantly. He went via the emotion of not figuring out why it occurred, however felt the necessity to do one thing so different households didn’t need to expertise that ache. It began with him chatting with his sons’ classmates, and this system has grown exponentially from there.
Greeneville Professional Inventory driver Allen Johnson has been closely concerned within the BRAKES program at Bristol. Different drag racing champions together with Mike Dunn, Antron Brown, Darrell Gwynn and Doug Kalitta have had their kids undergo this system.
So have NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Ricky Rudd with their kids. Randy LaJoie introduced his son, present Cup Collection racer Corey, to BRAKES a decade in the past. NASCAR legend Bobby Allison had his grandchildren undergo this system.
Allison, a longtime good friend of Herbert, misplaced his sons, Clifford and Davey, in racing and helicopter accidents. He and spouse, Judy, have been among the many first to console Herbert after his sons’ accident. The tragedy led Herbert to analysis teenage fatalities. It began the mission to forestall accidents and save lives by coaching and educating drivers and their dad and mom.
“One factor that I didn’t know earlier than my boys have been in that automotive crash is that automotive crashes are the main reason behind demise for youngsters,” Herbert mentioned. “Our No. 1 purpose is bringing the youngsters dwelling protected.
“Earlier than COVID, we had 25 totally different cities the place we have been doing this system. Now, we’re again up round 20 totally different cities. Our plans are to get round 10,000 extra households skilled this yr.”
Teenagers can register for the free courses at: https://putonthebrakes.org/.