Message from the Fayette County Attorney
a message from larry Roberts
About The Program
Teenage students in Lexington have not been able to get any driving education through our school systems for over forty years. Each year in Fayette County teenagers are involved in a very large number of automobile accidents with the primary causes being: 1. Driving too close for the speed and No. 2, Distractions.
In 2010, my First Assistant, Brian Mattone (deceased, 2012), and I decided to offer a Defensive Driving School for teenage drivers in central Kentucky. The main focus was to offer young drivers training from expert instructors on accident awareness and accident avoidance. With the guidance of our Director, Billy Fryer, a former Lexington Police officer who has thirty five years experience teaching driving skills to police officers, we designed a school that consists of twenty hours of instruction over a five day period on a state certified driving pad located on Old Frankfort Pike.
The creation of and maintaining a driving school for teenagers is very expensive. There is the initial cost for a driving site, cars, insurance, instructors and a classroom facility which must be acquired in advance. We established a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation and we are committed to never ask for financial help from LFUCG, nor, state or federal grants because I believe the private sector will support the major financial needs for this important program.
In 2011, this community stepped up with our requests for support. For example, Mayor Jim Gray and the City Council gave us permission to use the 5 ½ acre driving pad on Old Frankfort Pike which was already being utilized by our police and sanitation departments. Rick Avare and Toyota on Nicholasville graciously provided us with brand new Camrys and Corollas for our students to drive. Doug Dixon, owner of Dixon Electric, donated the very expensive fit-up for our classroom building. Because of State Farm agent, Debra Hensley’s passion about this program, she was instrumental in making her company, State Farm Insurance, aware of our school and this has resulted in several donations to our school, the latest being a $20,000 check in May, 2016.
Financial contributions from Toyota, Kentucky Eagle, Inc, Neurosurgical Associates, Dermatology Associates of Kentucky, QX.net, David and Paula Hollingsworth, Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Young Jr., Palmer Tire-Southland Drive, Tim and Kelly Chesney, and Larry Jakobi have enabled this program to sustain the basic operation costs.
Our first class was in June, 2011. Through April, 2016, we have graduated 859 students. After two years of operation we were having trouble obtaining the existing pad due to the constant needs of other agencies. Because of the increased demand by families in Central Kentucky for our school to add more classes, we designed another three and one-half acre pad adjacent to the existing one. The cost of this project was over $300,000, and in August, 2012, it was completed thanks to the tremendous generosity of the following companies in this community: ATS Construction, Vulcan Materials, Nally & Gibson, Tutt, Inc., Woodall Construction and Haynes Trucking.
Now, we are presently conducting two classes a day throughout this summer, and like last year we will be offering classes in the afternoon during the fall after children are out of school.
As County Attorney, I plan to continue this program. If the demand escalates as I anticipate it will in the next few years, it is my hope the Fayette County Schools will take over this effort and offer driving education to all of our students.
Larry S. Roberts