Exploding outward at nearly 200 mph with the crack of a gunshot, the Kia’s airbag rips apart the steering wheel casing and balloons to cushion the impending impact. The cabin fills with an acrid smoke, a by-product from the chemical inflation, as the nylon bag slowly deflates. There is no sound or movement, just a cloud of white powder wafting out of the broken side window.
Instead of dialing “911” on their phones, or rushing forward to help, a few dozen curious bystanders move closer to peer inside the shattered car. The late-model Kia sedan is empty of passengers, and the police and fire department are already on site. All have been brought to an expansive Southern California parking lot by B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe), a non-profit organization on a mission to train and educate teenage drivers, and their parents, about the importance of responsible and safe driving.