ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) has kicked off the 2022 “No Empty Chair” campaign. The campaign is to encourage safe and responsible driving among teens and prevent crashes so that everyone is in their chairs on graduation day.

“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,” said GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder. “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.”

The campaign runs from April 25 through April 29. In partnership with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), school administrators, community leaders, and law enforcement, GTSC sponsors educational events and enforcement efforts to raise awareness about the driving behaviors that commonly contribute to serious and fatal crashes among teens.

SADD will be coordinating speaking events with survivor advocates, partnering with school administrators to organize student-focused events, and utilizing social media. SADD will also provide information about underage drinking to schools that can be shared with parents and guardians as they plan to host graduation and prom afterparties.

During the campaign, posters will also be displayed in schools and throughout communities across the state. State and local law enforcement agencies that have School Resource Officers or a presence at high schools are encouraged to conduct outreach during this campaign and throughout the prom and graduation season.

Law enforcement will also be increasing patrols near local high schools statewide. GTSC said officers will be vigilant in enforcing violations of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, which is intended to provide time for young drivers to gain experience in various traffic scenarios in a safe and controlled manner.

The enforcement component of the campaign will focus on:

  • 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

The “No Empty Chair” posters can be requested through GTSC’s online request form.