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MO lawyer pushing new teen driver curriculum

Posted: 8:26 PM, Sep 24, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-25 01:26:14Z

One lawyer in Independence is determined to ensure driver safety is instilled in class rooms as driver’s education courses continue to disappear from high schools.

Doug Horn has been a crash attorney for 25 years, yet he says he’s seen a dramatic increase in teen accidents over the last 5-6 years.

Teen drivers are driving more aggressively, more distracted,” said Horn.

The lawyer, who is also a parent of a teen driver, says he put together the ‘Drive By Example’ campaign nearly five years ago, and it’s picking up momentum.

“What I'm advocating is a ten week driver safety education course that goes into things like vehicle safety, safe driving habits and procedures,” said Horn.

High schools across Missouri and Kansas have been cutting driver’s ed in recent years due to budgetary concerns. Horn believes the rise in teen accidents correlates with not only distracting driving, but lack of driver safety education since schools began eliminating programs.

Horn doesn’t want to change the law, but says Drive By Example could be easy implemented into existing 9th and 10th grade health curriculums without extra costs or resources.

"If we get these kids off to the right start in driving safety, not only are we going to reduce crashes and serious injuries, but we're going to make an impact on the driving culture as a whole,” said Horn.

Horn said he’s been discussing his curriculum with area high schools and community colleges.

The ten week course would focus on things such as:

•         Seat belt safety
•         Speed control
•         Alertness
•         Highway safety
•         Defensive driving
•         State driving requirements
•         Legal provisions for teens
•         Proper protocol following accidents
•         Details on car insurance coverages

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. and are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to any other age.

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Josh Helmuth can be reached at josh.helmuth@kshb.com .

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