Police target risky teen drivers with “No Empty Chair” campaign

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The “No Empty Chair” campaign coincides with proms and other student related events. Police say teens account for a large portion of fatal crashes, and they want to drive that number down.

One of the participating agencies is the Town of Tonawanda Police Department. Captain Joseph Carosi with the department says, “They focus on the fact of you don’t want an empty chair when it comes time for graduation, you don’t want and empty chair you don’t want a life lost as result of a bad decision while driving.”

The statewide campaign puts more officers on the road, doing more targeted patrols.

The patrols are looking for risky teen driver behavior like speeding, drinking and driving, texting, and not wearing seat belts. The campaign also focuses on safe driving education.

According to the CDC, more than 2,000 teens died in automobile related accidents in 2013, more than 50% were not wearing a seat belt.

Captain Carosi says, “Distracted driving is absolutely the one thing we want to get across to everybody, they say statistically between 60% and 70% of all crashes, making no difference on the age of the driver is based on distracted driving violations.”

The next campaign will be a nationwide seat belt enforcement mobilization in May. Officers will be looking for drivers not wearing seat belts.

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