State Agencies Launch “No Empty Chair” Campaign Ahead Of Prom And Graduation Season

Local News

This week, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Council and the DMV kicked off the 2019 “No Empty Chair” campaign, which raises awareness of highway dangers in the hope there will be no empty chairs during prom and graduation season.

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In addition to education events, state and local law enforcement will increase patrols near local high schools across the state, and officers will be vigilant in enforcing violations of the Graduated Driver Licensing 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 focuses on specific infractions statewide during the week as follows:

Monday, April 29, 2019 – Speeding in School Zones
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Seat Belt and Child Restraints
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Cell Phone Use and Texting
Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Operation Safe Stop
Friday, May 3, 2019 – Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.

The following statistics are from the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research:

  • 6 percent of all motor vehicle crashes between 2015 and 2017 involved drivers ages 16 to 18.
  • In 2017 over half (51 percent) of the passengers killed or injured in vehicles with drivers ages 16 to 18 were also ages 16 to 18.
  • In 2017, failure to yield right of way, following too closely, and driver inattention/distraction, were the most frequently reported contributing factors for drives ages 16 to 18 involved in fatal and personal injury crashes.

As part of the campaign, No Empty Chair posters will be displayed in high-visibility areas in schools.

School administrators should contact State Police Sergeant Todd Engwer to request the posters free of charge by emailing him at or

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