Area residents looking to enhance their driving skills and knowledge have a place to do just that in Jamestown.
Advance Driver Training, located at 121 Willard St. in the city, offers driver and traffic safety education to help motorists stay safe on the road.
Advance Driver Training's story doesn't start in 2011, when it was founded, but in 1944 when a young Italian barber bought and opened a barbershop and beauty salon for himself and his wife on Swede Hill in Jamestown. Within a few years, 15-year-old Joseph Triscari asked the barber if he could be taken on as an apprentice. This boy worked there for 67 years - all the while asking his son, Bob, to come into the business. Bob Triscari, co-owner of Advance Driver Training, wasn't interested in becoming a barber. He wanted to become a teacher.
Bob Triscari sits behind a desk at Advance Driver Training’s headquarters at 121 Willard St.
P-J photo by Mallory Diefenbach
While going to Buffalo State College for technology education, Triscari met his future business partner and friend, Chris O'Brien, co-owner of Advance Driver Training, when the two sat next to each other in a class and learned they were both of Jamestown. Triscari went on to teach drafting and machining at BOCES and O'Brien went on to teach construction technology at Hewes BOCES in Ashville.
When Joseph Triscari retired, his son found himself saddled with the hard decision to sell the building, which has been his family for 75 years, or doing something else to keep it alive and in the family.
The answer came in the form of a fellow teaching colleague, Sam Qadri.
"We will come to your house, free of charge, and take you out in your car for a half-hour lesson."
Advance Driver Training co-owner
"It was really Sam Qadri who talked Chris and I into doing a driving school," Triscari said. "... He said there are no driving schools at all in Chautauqua County or Cattaraugus County."
Qadri built the website for the business and spearheaded the formal Department of Motor Vehicles application process, obtaining all the necessary business licenses and permits from Albany. From there, he left it in Triscari and O'Brien's hands as he went on to pursue other business ambitions and obligations locally and internationally.
"One thing we always hear while doing driving lessons is 'Gee, I wish you were our father,'" Triscari said. He admitted the main difference between a parent teaching their child to drive and a driving education service is that his service has the brake on the passenger side of the car.
Advance Driver Training offers a variety of services for its customers. Besides the typical five-hour driving class - which is needed to take the road test - and the six-hour defensive class - which people can take to lower the cost of insurance or knock off accumulated points on their license - they also work with local schools to offer driver's education. They are also licensed to teach basic life-support and CPR. As part of their service to the community, they do free driving assessments for licensed drivers 75 years old or older.
"We will come to your house, free of charge, and take you out in your car for a half-hour lesson to tell your loved ones 'Yeah, they aren't too bad,' or "Wow, they have some issues here,'" Triscari said.
Advance Driver Training has close ties to community and other businesses in Jamestown such as: AAA of Jamestown, Liberty Mutual of Lakewood, The Resource Center, New Directions Youth and Family Services of Randolph, Ames Insurance, Rhoe B. Henderson Insurance, Aspire, Safety Village in Ashville, Jamestown Community College, SUNY Fredonia and New York DMV, among others.
Advance Driver Training's office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with seminars starting at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and driving lessons on Sunday at noon. They can be contacted at 777-3232 or can be found online at www.drivertrainingllc.com.