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New York Beefs Up Safety Patrols During Prom, Graduation Season

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently kicked off the 'No Empty Chair' campaign in an effort to save teen lives during prom and graduation season.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently kicked off the 'No Empty Chair' campaign in an effort to save teen lives during prom and graduation season. Photo Credit:

Nearly every year, families across New York state are left grieving due to losing a loved one during prom or graduation season. That's why Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently launched 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 weeklong, multiagency campaign, which will run all this week. 

“Raising awareness about traffic safety can prevent senseless tragedies and save lives,” said 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.”

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, 11-13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities occurred in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20.
  • Drivers ages 16 and 17 involved in fatal and personal injury crashes 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, drivers ages 16-20 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 distraction.

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

  • Monday – Speeding in school zones
  • Tuesday – Seat belts and child restraints
  • Wednesday – Cell phone use and texting
  • Thursday – Operation Safe Stop/promoting school bus safety
  • Friday – 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 state police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico. 

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