Missouri ranked one of the most dangerous states for teen driving

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. (KY3) -- Missouri is the fifth most dangerous state for teen drivers, that's according to the most recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Springfield Public Schools put on a local effort to turn that trend around Thursday. Don Heaney is in the process of teaching his 7th child how to take on the road.

"Am I 100% comfortable? No," he said.. "But, I am also not comfortable with my 37-year-old driving my three grandsons."

Heaney's only son is just one week out from taking his driver's test, in a state that falls below average in roadway safety.

"Of course it's alarming, however at the same time you have to trust that he has understood what the rules are and he abides by them and basically just be cautious," he said.

Springfield Public Schools is doing what it can to bridge the education gap. Thursday it brought in First Impact, a drivers safety course that partners with MoDOT, State Farm and the RUSK rehabilitation center.

"Teens haven't focused on that yet," said First Impact director Deana Dothage. "They're new drivers, so their focus has been on their school activities or their music, or learning how to use their phones from 8 years old on but they haven't really been coached on driving and they don't know the impact that speed has."

Lisa Donaldson is the owner of Midwest Training center, a driver's ed program in the Ozarks. She said education is the key to moving Missouri off of the leader board for dangerous teen drivers.

"Missouri does not require drivers ed anymore, she said. "A lot of states require drivers-ed and Missouri doesn't, so I'm not surprised that we're one of the most dangerous states."

First Impact's goal is to remind parents of all of the different things that could go wrong. Heaney said you can never know too much about how to keep your child safe.

"Even though he is the seventh of all my children, I still would like to find out a tip or two that might help me save his life someday," Heaney said.