TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Every year dozens of Kansas teens die behind the wheel.
That’s why the B.R.A.K.E.S program is stepping in to teach teens how they can stay safe on the roadways.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, an average of 46 teens are killed on Kansas roads each year.
“We needed something else than what we’re doing,” said trooper Don Hughes. “We needed something more for parents to have a resource. We needed something else after driver’s ed.”
That’s where B.R.A.K.E.S comes in. It’s a program that teaches teens and parents across the country defensive and situational driving skills.
“Maybe you just had a lapse in judgment or maybe just something bad happens to you and you end up in a situation where you are in a skid or you end up off the road, we’re showing you how to recover from those,” said B.R.AK.E.S Event Lead Travis Oldenburg.
Braden Johnson will be a freshman at Emporia State this year and will be on the road a lot. He and his dad thought it would be a good idea to take the class.
“It’s an hour and a half drive so, they’re teaching us things that you can learn on the highway,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot of semi-trucks on the way to Emporia. They’re teaching you how to be safe around semi-trucks. That’s a big thing.”
During the session, the teens get behind-the-wheel instruction from professional trainers on things like avoiding a crash and recovering from a skid.
“The last place you want to figure out how to do that is when you’re involved in it,” said Oldenburg. “So, if you learn about it and you practice it like we’re doing out here, then it’ll prepare you and it’ll reduce that anxiety.”
But the students aren’t the only ones that get something out of it. The parents do, too.
“It definitely makes more confident they know the skills,” said parent Bryan Boutz. “But, it also makes me feel more confident as a parent that I have some idea of how to help them learn better, because we’ve all learned bad habits and we’ve all developed really dangerous things that we do and don’t even realize it.”
Organizers say by gaining new skills and confidence — they hope it will help participants be better and safer drivers.
B.R.A.K.E.S will be hosting sessions at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Aug. 24 – 25. For more information about how to sign up for the class, click HERE.