Sheriff’s Office joins No Empty Chair campaign

Staff Reports Posted 17 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Stepped up enforcement aims to keep teen drivers safe

This Public Service Announcement from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee urges teen to drive safely.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is joining law enforcement throughout the state this week in stepped up enforcement of speeding in school zones, cell phone use while driving, underage drinking, not wearing seatbelts and child restraints, and passing school busses when the red lights are flashing.

The effort is part of a state-wide “No Empty Chair” campaign to keep teen drivers safe so they can graduate and not be an empty seat during commencement.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also is backing the “No Empty Chair” teen driving safety education and enforcement campaign to raise awareness of highway dangers during prom and graduation season.

State and local law enforcement will participate in the week-long, multi-agency campaign from Monday through Friday. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee also encourages school administrators, local traffic safety partners, and other community stakeholders to raise awareness to ensure there are no empty chairs at prom and graduation this season.

“Raising awareness about traffic safety can prevent senseless tragedies and save lives,” said Governor Cuomo. “By spreading the word about the Empty Chair Campaign, we can stop crashes before they occur, and ensure a bright future for all of New York’s students.”

State and local law enforcement will increase their presence in the vicinity of local high schools throughout the campaign, and officers are encouraged to be vigilant about violations of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, which is designed to provide time for young people to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios.

The campaign will target specific infractions throughout the week, while also enforcing all other vehicle and traffic laws. The target dates are as follows:

Monday, April 18, 2016 – Speeding in school zones
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – Seatbelts and child restraints
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 – Cell phone use and texting
Thursday, April 21, 2016 – Operation Safe Stop/promoting school bus safety
Friday, April 22, 2016 – Underage drinking and impaired driving

“Our goal with this initiative is to keep teens safe so they can enjoy what is ahead of them – prom, graduation, and then moving on to the next step of their lives,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico. “Please buckle up, slow down, and put away your cell phones while driving. These few actions will make the highways safer for all and help prevent tragedy this prom season.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research uncovered the following facts in New York:

Between 2012 and 2014, 11 to 13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in New York State occurred in crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20.

Drivers ages 16 and 17 involved in fatal and personal injury crashes in New York State were more likely to be driving with passengers than drivers in all other fatal and personal injury crashes (43 percent versus 29 percent in 2014).

According to 2013 data, in police-reported fatal and personal injury crashes statewide, drivers ages 16 to 20 were much more likely than all drivers to have multiple contributing factors, which included driver inexperience, unsafe speed, following too closely, failure to yield right-of-way, and driver inattention/distraction.