Bristol WCYS

Bristol Dragway legend launches defensive driving program after sons killed in car crash

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WCYB) — A few local teens spun out in the parking lot of the Bristol Motor Speedway as part of a free driving school called "B.R.A.K.E.S."

It stands for "Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe." A nonprofit founded by NHRA legend Doug Herbert.

"I was the first drag racer to go over 300 mph here at the Bristol Dragway," Herbert said. "I've got a history of going fast."

On January 6, 2008 Herbert was racing his top fuel dragster in Phoenix, Arizona when a phone call changed his life. His two sons Jon and James were killed in a tragic car crash.

"As a parent we plan out life around our kids. We're watching them grow up. At the time I didn't know car crashes were the number one fatality for teenagers," Herbert said.

In the wake of the tragedy, he launched B.R.A.K.E.S to prevent others from experiencing the loss of a loved one. So far, Herbert has taught more than 45,000 teens how to properly get out of a skid. 

According to B.R.A.K.E.S, teens who have taken the course are 65% less likely to get in a car accident. 

Teen driver, Seth Smith, recently got into an accident and rear-ended another vehicle. He participated on his mom's suggestion. 

"I want to prevent myself from rear-ending someone again and stop hurting anyone else or myself or my family members," Smith said. 

Herbert encourages other teens follow suit. 

"We're trying to teach them something that will help them save their life at some point," Herbert said.

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