By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- After Chattanooga's first year of discounted Driver Education class, the reviews are in from parents and students.  Many have written letters to commend the city for reviving the program, funded in part by money from traffic cameras. The next round of classes are scheduled for:

Summer I, June 6-9 Summer II, June 20-23
John A. Patten Center, 3202 Kelly Ferry Road

Summer III, July 11-14
Summer IV, July 25-28
Greenway Farm, 5051 Gann Store Road

For more information, please call the Drivers Education information line at 643-7011

 

Here are some of the letters:

 

This letter is from Jasmine Morris, a student in the Saturday course held at Greenway Farm in Jan 2011)

 

 I have recently been informed about the action of taking away our traffic cameras in the Chattanooga area. From the information I've been given, I think it would be a very bad choice. I have taken the Haman's New Driver's course and i must say that it is very skilled, informational and above all, it gives students the experience they need to be confident behind the wheel. If the traffic cameras were to be taken away, the funding for the driving school would be gone. I was at a bad financial state while in the classroom itself with the kids getting permits, and I was very appreciative that my class instructor was as helpful and patient as he was. I couldn't imagine having to pay for both the class and the driving lessons to get my license! Because I passed the class and driving course, I saved 300 dollars! That would be worth a lot to me. To keep it simple, I think keeping the traffic cameras is a good idea and expense to the community and the youth the grow up there. Because the traffic cameras help keep the streets safe and the money from it is being used wisely, there is no reason to have them be taken away.

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To Whom It May Concern: 

Each school day when my 16-year old son sends me a text saying he has arrived safely at school, I count my blessings. My gratitude is rooted in the knowledge that my son has been the recipient of a well-rounded driver's training program through the City of Chattanooga. This ingenious program, funded by traffic camera revenue, develops defensive driving skills in the age group most at risk for deadly traffic accidents.

When my son, Jonathan, turned 16 just days after his father died in a sudden and tragic accident at our home, I was very concerned about Jon entering the dangerous world of driving.  We had just lost a loved one, and I couldn't bear the thought of losing another. As a new widow, and single parent, I began looking for a way to insure my son would get the type of driver's education that would prepare him for what I hope will be a lifetime of safe driving. Without my husband's income and parental wisdom in determining the best program for preparing our son, I was concerned.

While at church one Sunday, I overheard a conversation about a driver's training program through the City of Chattanooga. I learned that students were taught by Haman's professional driving instructors at Greenway Farm (and other locations).  When I contacted Driver Education Coordinator, Caroline Johnson, I almost cried with relief and joy when she told me about the program offered by the city. Not only did the City of Chattanooga provided excellent driving instruction, but the price was $50; instead of $350 or more.

Without the money generated from the traffic camera fines, my son would not have received the excellent instruction he got from the 30-hours of defensive driving classes and six hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training.  With the monies generated from traffic camera fines, I believe my son stands a good chance of not being another teenage traffic statistic. He is a knowledgeable, thoughtful driver. In fact, he often shares driving tips with me that he learned from his outstanding driving instructor.

 It gives me peace of mind to know that many young citizens of our fine city have also been given this opportunity.  I cannot help but be grateful for the lives that will be saved by this program now and in the future. Our city leaders have shown immense wisdom and vision in using our traffic camera revenues in a manner that will benefit that lives of so many Chattanoogans. Please, continue to use the traffic cameras to fund this worthwhile defensive driving program.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Vanessa Rinkel

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To Whom it May Concern:

 

I am writing in support of the Chattanooga city-sponsored drivers' education program. I have seen the positive benefits of this program, both as a parent and as a teacher.

 

My son completed the course at the Brainerd Rec center last year, his sophomore year in high school. The extended course with an instructor allowed him to truly understand the concepts, rather than just cramming for the test with the study guide. As he was taking the course, he pointed out what he was learning as we drove around town. He was excited about what he was learning; he realized the knowledge would have immediate benefits to him. I can honestly say that the driving course he took through the city of Chattanooga was the most meaningful of all his classes during his sophomore year.

 

I am also a teacher at Notre Dame High Schoool. I've had several students complete the program. I know this because some of my students wrote about the positive experience of the class and learning to drive in their journals. Some of my students were also in my son's class. I was interested to learn if they were finding the class as beneficial as my son did. I think one student really summed up the experience when he said, "It's a class I never want to skip."

 

I cannot think of a better use for traffic-related revenue than to use it for a course that will keep our streets safer and potentially save many lives.

 

Most Sincerely,

 

Candy Corneliussen

Notre Dame High School

 

 

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To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am writing to express my support of the Driver's Education Program 

offered by the city of Chattanooga.   We had always planned to enroll 

our son Keaton, in Haman's Driving School, and were very pleased to learn that instead of paying $389 for the course, we only had to pay $50, thanks to the city of Chattanooga.

 

The city has done an excellent job of getting the word out about this program and it is very well organized. Everyone involved from start to finish was professional and helpful.  Our son learned many valuable safety lessons of which he often reminds me. When he took his driving test, his instructor said that he was the first student of his to pass with 100%--no errors! He even remembered to use his turn signals in a roundabout.

 

The statistics for teen drivers are, in a word, scary. We can all agree that anything we can do to keep our teenagers safe when they start driving is a good thing. This program makes it possible for those who might not be able to afford Drivers Ed. to receive it.

 

The city of Chattanooga is doing a great job in providing this program and investing in the safety of our children. Please consider this carefully and allow it to continue.

 

Sincerely,

Karla Fowkes

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The Driver's Education program offered by the City of Chattanooga is incredible. Because the City of Chattanooga offered this program for a small fee of $50, I was able to afford for my teenaged daughter to enroll. She participated in the program several months ago. Other comparable Driver's Education classes or programs offered in the area cost upwards to $300 or $400. As a tax paying city resident, I was extremely excited to take advantage of the offer.

 

The class offered by the city is coordinated with a Haman's, a certified driving school. Haman's proved to be very professional and helpful. Through this particular program, my daughter attended not only the classroom instruction, but was also had "real" driving time around the city. An advantage that this program has compared to others is the participation of officers from the Traffic Division of the Police Department as guest speakers. They come to the class and give presentations to the students and answer many questions that the new drivers have. This positive exposure to a police officer increases tremendously the overall value of the program. Many new drivers NEED to have this interaction with an officer prior to their driving experience.

 

Another aspect that is very helpful is the conveniently located facilities for the classroom portion of the program. There are several locations throughout the city. Also, several different class times are available. I enrolled my daughter at a location that was very close to our home and she attended after school.

 

When my daughter completed the course, she took her certificate to the DL center to receive her license. There was no additional testing required! This proved VERY convenient considering the wait times at DL centers.

 

As a father, I worry about the safety of my daughter on today's roadways. I can worry a little less knowing that she has completed this driver's education course. She now has the education and skills to drive responsibly and safely. The fact that she was able to take advantage of this program means so much to me as a concerned parent. To be honest, I doubt I could have afforded her enrollment in a driver's education course had it not been for this offer through the City of Chattanooga. I feel that Driver's Ed program conducted by the City of Chattanooga is responsibly operated and managed. It seems to me that their use of funds is money well spent. This is an investment that yields priceless dividends in terms of public safety.

 

Money can be spent on the "front end" preventing problems, or it can be spent on the "back end" cleaning up the mess. Many times a much wiser and efficient use of money is in PREVENTION. Cleaning up a mess after it occurs, is troublesome and costly.

 

I hope this Driver's Education program will be around for MANY years to come. I can't say enough good things about the program and its impact upon our community.

 

Respectfully,

Eddy Chamberlin

 

The City of Chattanooga Driver's program along with Haman's Driving School has truly taught my son to be a conscious,  alert and safe driver.    I feel more comfortable with him behind

 the wheel  now than I thought I ever could.   Staff persons are knowledgeable and professional while working with young adults that I wished I could have taken the classes myself,

but I'm learning from my son each and everyday how it is a privilege to drive and speeding makes no sense.  I pray and hope that other young drivers can gain knowledge and experience through

the use of City of Chattanooga Driver's program.    It is a very worthy and important element locally and I hope funding continues in years ahead.

 

I can sleep better now!!!!

 

Mark Colbert

Mark Colbert Jr.