Putting the B.R.A.K.E.S. on Distracted Driving
“Studies show that 10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were driving while distracted – and those are just the crashes where the distractions were known,” said MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “Given these statistics, continuing to talk or text while driving is just plain irresponsible behavior, and we hope to spread that message to newer drivers through our partnership with the B.R.A.K.E.S. program and our ongoing JustDrive.com campaign.”
B.R.A.K.E.S. is offered free-of-charge to teens and their parents. The program features four half-day sessions with classroom instruction and multiple hands-on behind-the-wheel driving exercises. Along with panic braking, accident avoidance, car control and other important topics, the curriculum emphasizes the dangers of texting and driving, which makes the B.R.A.K.E.S. program an ideal complement to the MVC’s JustDrive.com campaign.
“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, a former professional drag racer who founded the program 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 2016 we hope to have instructed over 30,000 teens.”
In addition to the MVC, the New Jersey State Police School and Traffic Safety Unit is taking an active role, reminding participants and their parents of the role that law enforcement plays in keeping drivers safe, and educating newer drivers about how to properly interact with a law enforcement officer.
For more information about the B.R.A.K.E.S. program, visit www.putonthebrakes.org. More information about the JustDrive.com campaign is available at www.justdrive.com