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This weekend marks the five-year anniversary of the fatal car crash that claimed the lives of Doug Herbert two sons, Jon and James.
Cornelius Police said older brother Jon lost control and hit a Hummer while trying to pass another vehicle. After the accident, Doug Herbert started a program called B.R.A.K.E.S - Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe.
"We teach them how to respect the car and control the car and how to get out of a bad situation and maybe how to avoid a bad situation in the first place," Herbert said.
Herbert didn't ask to be the poster boy for the program but says by focusing on making his son's lives mean something going forward, he turns a tragedy into triumph.
"I just figured if I did nothing..it would just be a crime. I just couldn't sit there and do nothing because I really could do something," Herbert said. He says the rewarding part is receiving messages from teens who avoided an accident because of Herbert's class.
Every year more than 6,000 teens die in car crashes. It's the number one killer of young people. It's a sobering fact, one Herbert says he never knew until his sons were among the statistics.
And it's something past participant and mom Debby Werth says gave her the motivation to bring her son to a class.
"It can save his life and other people that are around him," Werth said.
Werth herself took the course. It's a requirement parents participate too. Herbert sees it as a chance to open up the dialogue on good driving skills especially in a world filled with so many distractions.
"It's not just a school..it's not just we're trying to give you training, cram something down your throat..they're there because someone cares about them and doesn't want them to have an accident that might have severe consequences," Herbert said.
The classes are free and offered nationwide. Locally, classes are held once a month in Concord at the zMax Dragway. For more information, click here.