Two thirds of fatal teen crashes involve driver error — making mistakes due to inexperience and distractions (Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute). This spring, in an effort to help prevent some of these mistakes, Juneau teens between the ages of 14 and 18 years old have a rare opportunity to gain some real experience in a controlled setting with professional driving trainers.
On April 13 and 14, the Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) driver’s training course comes to town. Juneau’s Taylor White Foundation is partnering with Put on the BRAKES, a professional driving school from North Carolina, to offer training to youth free of charge. To participate, teens must have a learner’s permit or driver’s license and register for the course at www.taylorwhite.org/training. To encourage attendance, a fully refundable deposit of $99 is required to register and reserve your space in the school. B.R.A.K.E.S. holds the check in trust and returns it along with the certificate of completion on the day of training.
Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S., founded by a professional drag racer that lost two children in an automobile accident, has a unique approach to giving kids the practical skills they need to be safe. For three of the four hours of the AAA approved training, the teen is behind the wheel with a professional driving instructor experiencing driving situations that put them most at risk. A course is set up in a parking lot that includes a skid control station, a distracted driving course, a sudden stop accident avoidance station, and a simulated driving under the influence station. The last station is done with golf carts and impaired driving goggles.
Parents or significant adults for the teen are an important part of the training and must attend. Adults will be able to drive the course with instructors. There are four sessions to choose from, each four hours long. Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to sign their teens up early.
The Taylor White Foundation has had great support from the Juneau business community, CBJ and especially the Juneau Police Department to bring the Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S. training to town. Helping our teens learn good driving skills will make our community a safer place for everyone. In 2010, three of every 10 deaths resulting from crashes with a teen behind the wheel were to people outside the teen’s vehicle. (National Automotive Sampling System, General Estimates System, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The Taylor White Foundation for Advancing Our Community was founded in 2009. It was established in memory of Taylor White, who was killed in an automobile accident shortly after graduating high school. In a desire for Taylor’s death to be a force for good, the foundation was created to work toward building a community environment that better supports Juneau teens in healthy choices around high risk behaviors.