B.R.A.K.E.S. expands presence in Detroit

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With 2019 trainings scheduled for Ypsilanti and Detroit, national charity founded by NHRA Drag Racing Champion Doug Herbert will leverage Bloomfield Hills golf tournament proceeds to host as many as 40 classes over 10 weekends across the state in 2020

  • Teens who graduate from B.R.A.K.E.S. are 64 percent less likely to be in a crash in their first three years of driving.
  • Program has surpassed 35,000 young drivers trained. 

Concord, N.C. (May 8, 2019) – Significantly expanding its presence in Michigan, the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) national teen defensive driving program today announced plans to hold weekend sessions in both Ypsilanti and Detroit in 2019. B.R.A.K.E.S.’ growth in the state – which is expected to continue with up to 40 classes across 10 weekends in 2020 – is being fueled in part by the Swing for Safe Teen Driving charity golf tournament in Bloomfield Hills. 


The Swing for Safe Teen Driving tournament will take place at Oakland Hills Country Club on Monday, June 10, with more than 400 participants, including well-known Michigan athletes, noteworthy personalities and executives from major automotive manufacturers and suppliers expected. The event will include play on Oakland Hills’ North and South courses as well as a cocktail reception emceed by WDIV-TV news anchor and Detroit-area philanthropist Rhonda Walker and her NBC Local 4 News Team colleague Kim DeGiulio. All funds raised will be dedicated to B.R.A.K.E.S. programming in the state of Michigan. 


Founded by multi-time Top Fuel drag racing champion Doug Herbert after the tragic loss of his two sons in a car crash in 2008, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit is supported by official vehicle partner Kia Motors America and several other corporate sponsors, major donors and grant providers. Herbert developed the free lifesaving defensive driver training program to deal with the number-one cause of death among teens – car crashes – helping to improve road safety and prevent other parents from facing the heartbreak of losing a child.


“I started B.R.A.K.E.S. after my sons’ crash in an effort to help prevent their classmates and my neighbors from experiencing a similar tragedy, and from those humble beginnings in Concord, North Carolina, it has grown into a nationwide mission,” said Herbert. “We’ll host more than 160 classes across 40-plus weekends this year, covering 20 cities and 13 states, but we’d like to make Michigan a hub, so we can really make an impact in this state. The Swing for Safe Teen Driving golf tournament and all of the support we’ve received from Michigan-based organizations is going a long way to make that a reality.”  




B.R.A.K.E.S. will pay its first visit of the year to the “Great Lakes State” with a stop at the American Center For Mobility ACM Willow Run in Ypsilanti June 8-9, sponsored by Faurecia.  The festivities continue on Monday, June 10, with the Swing for Safe Teen Driving tournament. Four months later, B.R.A.K.E.S. will return to Belle Isle Park in Metro Detroit for sessions on the weekend of October 5-6.


“B.R.A.K.E.S. is an incredible organization that really moves the needle on road safety, improving the driving skills and influencing behavior among the highest risk group on our roads,” said Michigan-based B.R.A.K.E.S. charity board member Robert Fisher, a longtime champion of automotive safety and teen driving programs.  “I’ve been following Doug Herbert and his charity for years and really been impressed with the organization’s impact and growth rate. The Swing for Safe Teen Driving tournament will help us ensure that Michigan teens and their parents have ample opportunity to partake in this potentially lifesaving experience.”  


Established in 2008 following a tragic car crash that took the lives of Herbert’s sons Jon and James, the GuideStar Platinum-rated 501(c)(3) non-profit has trained more than 35,000 teens since its inception. 


For more information, including a complete schedule of events, and to register for a school, please visit www.putonthebrakes.org.


Advanced Driver Training

B.R.A.K.E.S. is NOT Driver’s Ed. It is a FREE, hands-on, advanced driver training program taught by professional instructors, including current and former members of law enforcement, professional racers and stunt drivers. B.R.A.K.E.S. maintains a low three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio to maximize educational effectiveness.


Each weekend B.R.A.K.E.S. school includes four identical sessions to allow parents and teens to pick one that will fit into their busy schedules. Each session includes four hours of training, starting with a short, 30-minute classroom presentation followed by more than three hours behind the wheel of new Kia vehicles.


Courses include distracted driving awareness, panic braking, drop-wheel/off-road recovery, crash avoidance and car control/skid recovery – all of the biggest causes of crashes for new drivers. Other educational elements often include ‘Big Rig’ safety, first responder vehicle extrication demonstration, and what to do in the event of a traffic stop.


About B.R.A.K.E.S.

Doug Herbert’s B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) is a GuideStar Platinum-rated 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to prevent injuries and save lives by training and educating teenage drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving. B.R.A.K.E.S. was founded in 2008 after Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert lost his two young sons, Jon and James, in a tragic car crash. Today, more than 35,000 teens from 45 different states and five countries – and their parents – have graduated from the B.R.A.K.E.S.’ intensive half-day training course, which is free of charge and features hands-on skills exercises taught by professional instructors in a fleet of new vehicles donated by Kia Motors America.