Drag racer on mission to teach teens about driving safety after loss of two sons

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A free National Teen Defensive Driving School will make its first stop in Fort Wayne next weekend.

For the founder of the B.R.E.A.K.S program (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), teaching teenagers about safe driving has turned into his life mission.

“I don’t want another parent to get that phone call that I did that their teenagers are not coming home because they’ve been involved in a car crash,” said Doug Herbert.

Herbert is a drag racing legend. He is a 4-time National Top Fuel drag racing champion and raced for 25 years.

In 2008, Herbert decided to forego much of the rest of his racing career after losing his two teenage sons in a car crash that year.

Herbert said his 17-year-old son Jon was speeding and swerving through traffic before crashing. He and his 13-year-old brother James, who was riding in the car, died.

Since then, Herbert has kept their memory alive through his B.R.A.K.E.S charity program. It teaches teenagers how to be safe and defensive drivers. Since its creation, the program has trained nearly 35,000 teens across the country. Now, Herbert is bringing the program to Fort Wayne.

“We’re going to teach them (teens) about accident avoidance and emergency lane changing, hand position of the steering wheel, seating position in the car, mirror adjustments, just really everything to make teenagers more aware and more safe behind the wheel of a car,” added Herbert.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths for U.S. teens. With his program Herbert is trying to make a difference to change that statistic.

“Driving is really the most dangerous thing that your teenager is going to do,” Herbert said. “Come out, spend half a day with us so we can make them safer and better behind the wheel of a car.”

The B.R.E.A.K.S program will be held at Purdue University Fort Wayne on Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4.

There are two 4-hour sessions on both days. Times are from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Teens only need to attend one session.

The program is free and vehicles provided by Kia Motors will used for hands-on training.

To learn more about the program click on this link.

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