Bill proposed would require high schools to offer driver\'s ed

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JEFFERSON CITY - A member of the Missouri House of Representatives proposed a bill that would require high schools to offer driver's education classes.

On Monday, a house committee heard the driver's education bill that Rep. Galen Higdon, R-St. Joseph, sponsored. 

The bill summary said, “This bill requires all public high schools, including charter schools, to offer a one credit driver’s education course as an elective credit. Driver’s education will not be required for school graduation.”

“The purpose for this is to provide a variety of eduacational experiences for the kids. This is a life skill that they will go on to use their entire life, and I think it’s important the kids are educated in a sense of driving.” said Rep. Bryan Spencer, R-Wentzwille.

Jeff Littleton, a father of a high school freshman, said he thinks it's a great idea to have driver's education in schools.

“You seen a lot of kids that have some struggles driving, and they don’t have enough experience behind the wheel,” Littleton said.

According to the State’s Teen (15-19) Traffic Crash Statistics, 454 teens died and 4,052 teens were seriously injured in car accidents from 2010 to 2015 in Missouri.

“It’s important for our kids to have as much knowledge and skill in driving. There’s too many situations where young kids or inexperienced drivers are having accidents that can cause great injury, or it could even cost their life,” Spencer said.

Littleton showed concern about the cost to schools or who will pay for it.

“Some of the schools are already offering the course, so there will be no change in the amount that they are spending on providing driver's education. Other schools may have to get a teacher certified in this area, or they might have to hire a staff member to teach this course,” Spencer said.

Spencer also said there is a fiscal note on this, and it ranges differently for different schools.

“I’d like to see it pass as long as it’s a fiscally responsible.” Littleton said.