One of the leading causes of death for young people in high school and college is fatal driving related accidents. The causes of these accidents vary, but the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies are working together to make sure accidents like this never happen.

This week is known across the country as "No Empty Chair" week. The goal of this educational campaign is to reiterate to young people the risks involved with operating a vehicle and what to do or not do if getting behind the wheel of one. Too many young people have lost their lives way too soon as a result of senseless incidents that in many cases could have been avoided.

The Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol says,

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. 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.

In observance of the "No Empty Chair" Campaign an enforcement period will be conducted looking for distracted, impaired and unsafe driving practices. Any person using their cell phone or other device while driving will be pulled over and ticketed. God forbid any underage person is caught driving while impaired, that will be prosecuted and unsafe speeds and seatbelt violations will also be strictly enforced.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is specifically reminding people,

In all seating positions of a motor vehicle, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined for each failure. Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system.

It is also important to remember the specific rules and regulations regarding child safety and car seats.

If under the age of four, [children] must be properly secured in a federally approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. A child under the age of four who weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt. A child of age 4, 5, 6, or 7, must use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belt or a child safety seat, based on recommendations of the manufacturer.

Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash
Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

The goal of this enforcement and educational campaign is that there is no empty chairs on a graduation stage or at a prom or ball. The hope is no child or teen will be killed this season prior to those milestone events. During prom season it is even more important for kids to be safe as there are usually parties and other gatherings at late hours after and before any dance or prom.

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