Drivers Education Program Provided by the City of Chattanooga Suspended
Chattanooga, Tenn. (August 11, 2016): Since its inception in November 2009, close to 3,000 young Chattanoogans have successfully completed the professional defensive driving curriculum and multimodal instruction provided by the City of Chattanooga's Drivers Education Program. This acclaimed and popular program was possible due to the City's decision to dedicate photo enforcement generated funds to the creation and administration of "public safety, traffic and safety education, engineering and enforcement programs", i.e. Photo Enforcement Ordinance, Chattanooga City Code Sec. 24-273.
Due to a law enacted earlier this year by the Tennessee State Legislature (HB1096, HB1372 & SB1128), most unmanned speed enforcement cameras will no longer be allowed in the state. Therefore, these traffic safety programs will go unfunded, resulting in the suspension of the Driver's Education Program.
Given these circumstances, effective immediately, no new courses for the Chattanooga Drivers Education Program will be scheduled until further notice. Efforts will be made to identify new revenue sources so that this important traffic safety program can resume.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the cost?
A: In Spring of 2015, the Tennessee State Legislature made legislative changes to restrict the use of traffic cameras. Additionally, those recent changes resulted in an increase in enrollment fees for Chattanooga's Drivers Education Program. In response, the City of Chattanooga is extending a discount to ensure all families have access to life-saving drivers education at an affordable price.
- Families whose household income is within the limits of the eligibility chart below, will pay an enrollment fee of $50.
- Families whose household income exceeds those limits will pay an enrollment fee of $200.
Eligibility for the $50 enrollment fee includes:
- Households receiving benefits from WIC, TN SNAP or Families First
- Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court.
- Students who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant.
- Households whose income qualifies for free or reduced price meals as determined within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines (see chart below)
Twice per month
Every two weeks
Q: Who can participate?
A: At this time, only City residents between the ages of 15 and 22 are eligible.
Q: Where are the classes held?
A: The courses will be held at the Public Library Downtown (1001 Broad Street).
Q: When are the next courses scheduled?
A: Please monitor this website or call the Drivers Education Program Information Line at 423-643-7011 for all program updates.
Q: How is this available at such a low cost?
A: The funding is supplied through revenue generated by the photo enforcement program. Those monies have been earmarked for traffic safety initiatives, so the Drivers Education Program is certainly an appropriate expenditure.
Q: What are the benefits of participating in one of these courses?
A: Because a disproportionately high number of crashes involve drivers under the age of 25, it is crucial that these young drivers are given every opportunity to be instructed in uniform, proven, defensive driving techniques. The course offers training in utilizing common sense, focus, anticipation, and responsibility for one's actions. Particular attention will be paid to eliminating all distractions which commonly plague young and inexperienced drivers. Guest speakers, specialists in a variety of fields including law enforcement and traffic engineering, will offer instruction as well. Students will gain an appreciation and respect for the privilege of driving. Parents also will enjoy the discount that most major insurance carriers provide for young drivers who have completed professional defensive driving courses. Typically a savings of 10 to 25% can be expected.
Q: How does a student enroll?
A: During enrollment periods, the application form will be available online to download and print. Both parent and student must complete and sign. The application and enfrollment fee, (either $50 or $200 per student, depending on household income - check or money order only, made out to City of Chattanooga) must be received in the Traffic Engineering office no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of class. In the event your check is returned from the bank for non-sufficient funds, you will be responsible for immediate repayment of the fee in cash or money order plus a $30.00 returned check fee, also in cash or money order.Mailing address:Drivers Education ProgramChattanooga Department of Transportation1250 Market Street, Suite 3030Chattanooga TN 37402