State and local police focus on safe teen driving during prom, graduation season

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State and local police kick off the 2021 “No Empty Chair” campaign today, which runs through Friday (April 19-23).

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The annual effort raises awareness to ensure there are no empty chairs at prom and graduation this season.

“We encourage parents of teen drivers to assist us and speak with their teens about the dangers involved with driving as it relates to speeding, distracted driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said village of Homer police chief Bob Pitman.

According to CDC data, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens.

Fatal accident rates are also highest among the 16–19 age group.

Per mile driven, they are nearly three times more likely to be killed crash than drivers 20 and older.


In addition to educating students about safe driving, law enforcement will increase patrols near local high schools throughout the state.

Officers will be vigilant about enforcing violations of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, which is intended to provide time for young drivers to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios in a safe and controlled manner.

The enforcement component of the campaign will focus on specific infractions statewide during the week as follows:

  • Monday April 19 – Speeding in School Zones
  • Tuesday April 20 – Seatbelt/Child Restraints
  • Wednesday April 21 – Cell Phone and Texting
  • Thursday April 22 – Operation Safe Stop
  • Friday April 23 – Underage Drinking/Impaired Driving

New York’s partnership with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will be a major component in educating young drivers during this campaign.

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