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B.R.A.K.E.S. teen driver safety program coming to Oregon

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According to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury among teens.

COURTESY B.R.A.K.E.S. - Teen and new drivers can learn safe driving skills at the free B.R.A.K.E.S. class coming to Oregon in April.A nationally-recognized free driver training program for teens and new drivers is coming to Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon on April 1 and 2.

According to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury among teens. To reduce the grim statistics, professional Drag Racer Doug Herbert has founded B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), a non-profit foundation offering free defensive driver training to teens and their parents.

"Car crashes are the number-one cause of death among teens in this country, and we started B.R.A.K.E.S. eight years ago to try and do something about that," said Doug Herbert, who founded B.R.A.K.E.S. after losing his two young sons, Jon and James, in a tragic car crash in 2008. "During our first year we trained about 50 kids. By the end of 2017, we hope to have instructed over 30,000 teens, and we're excited to include Portland-area families among our growing list of graduates."

The program will make two stops in the Pacific Northwest — in Tacoma, Washington on March 11 and 12, and at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon on April 1 and 2. At the B.R.A.K.E.S. program, students will learn to manage panic braking, crash avoidance and car control. The curriculum also distracted driving awareness exercises, demonstrating the dangers of texting and other distractions. The entire program is free of charge and taught by professional instructors.

Drivers don't even need a car to attend B.R.A.K.E.S. Kia Motors America has supplied a fleet of new Kia vehicles for use by teens and parents during B.R.A.K.E.S. training. Salem-based Power Kia helped bring B.R.A.K.E.S. to the Portland area.

"We look forward to bringing the B.R.A.K.E.S. program to our community as it will promote safe driving for all and skills that young drivers need to know," said Jason Koehnke, General Manager of Power Kia.

Online registration for both events is available at www.putonthebrakes.org. A $99 reservation fee is required, but the fee is refunded on attendance at the program.