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'No Empty Chair' launched across New York State to prevent teen car crashes

The campaign aims to prevent teen deaths in car crashes so that everyone can be at graduation.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Monday, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) began the 2022 "No Empty Chair" campaign in an effort to reduce car accidents involving teens to make sure everyone makes it to graduation. 

The campaign runs through Friday in partnership with Students Against Destructive Decisions. There will be educational events and enforcement efforts to raise awareness about poor driving behaviors.

“Prom and graduation are exciting rites of passage for teens, and we want to make sure they all have a chance to experience those milestones,” GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said. “Our No Empty Chair campaign is focused on giving young drivers the knowledge to make smart choices behind the wheel and encouraging the role models in a young person’s life like their coaches, teachers, and parents to reinforce the importance of responsible driving. Together we can and we will save lives.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death for teens. Additionally, teens 16-19 get into more accidents than any other age group.

SADD will be holding events in their own communities. No Empty Chair posters will be displayed in schools across the state. High school resource officers are also being encouraged to conduct outreach now through prom and graduation. 

Throughout the week the following topics will be the focus of each day:

  • Monday, April 25 – Speeding in School Zones
  • Tuesday, April 26 – Seat Belt/Child Restraints
  • Wednesday, April 27 – Cell Phone and Texting
  • Thursday, April 28 – Operation Safe Stop
  • Friday, April 29 – Underage Drinking/Impaired Driving


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