Sheriff, students and schools join forces to promote teen driving safety

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SAUQUOIT — Monday through Friday next week will see an increased law enforcement presence near local schools for the No Empty Chair Campaign, an annual education and enforcement initiative aimed at high schoolers nearing graduation.

Multiple law enforcement agencies across the state will participate in the program, with increased patrols around area high schools, along with educational events. The officers on duty will pay close attention to violations of the graduated driver licensing law, which is designed to provide time for young people to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios.

The campaign is named after the idea of making sure there are no empty chairs at upcoming graduation ceremonies to honor dead students. The campaign is hosted by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Each day next week will feature a new educational focus.

• Monday: Speeding in school zones.

• Tuesday: Seat belts and child restraints.

• Wednesday: Cell phone use and texting.

• Thursday: Stopping for school buses.

• Friday: Underage drinking and impaired driving.

To kick off the week of events, Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol joined students at Sauquoit Valley High School on Oneida Street in Sauquoit Friday morning.

“This initiative is to keep teens safe so they can enjoy what is ahead of them — prom, graduation, and then moving on to the next step of their lives,” Maciol stated.

“Please buckle up, slow down, and put away your cell phones while driving. These few actions will make the highways safer for all and help prevent tragedy.”

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is also participating in the No Empty Chair Campaign, along with many other local law enforcement agencies.

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