City of Port Jervis and Town of Deerpark Police Departments Teaming up to participate in the 2019 GTSC “No Empty Chair” Teen Driving Safety Campaign

No Empty Chair Campaign

April 29-May 3rd 2019

Each year, thousands of high school students across New York State look forward to attending their prom and graduation ceremony. For parents, siblings, educators and the community, these memorable moments become meaningless when a child dies in a car crash.

Regrettably, this scenario happens all too often and law enforcement is tasked with making the difficult “knock on the door”. In an effort to reduce these tragedies, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) has launched the “No Empty Chair” educational campaign. The theme is to symbolize the missing high school senior on graduation day.

Officers from the Port Jervis City Police Department and Town of Deerpark Police Department will be joining police officers across New York State to participate in the 2019 Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee “No Empty Chair” Teen Driver Safety Initiative during the week of April 29, 2019 – May 3, 2019 designed to improve young driver safety and awareness.

Police patrols will focus on a different traffic safety threat each day of the week including cell phone use and texting while driving, speeding in school zones, seat belts and child restraints, graduated driver license provisions and underage drinking and impaired driving in the vicinity of schools and roadways commonly traversed by high school students.

Dedicated overtime enforcement to address this initiative is financed under a 2019 Police Traffic Services (PTS) grant obtained through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

As the end of the school year is approaching, police are encouraging parents, guardians and others to please take the time to speak with your teenaged drivers about safe and responsible driving behaviors to help keep our roadways safe. We pledge that our officers will be out there enforcing the vehicle and traffic laws over the next few months focusing our efforts to keep our young drivers and our roadways safe.

The men and women of the Port Jervis and Deerpark Police Departments wish our High School Students the best of success in their academic pursuits and a safe and healthy future. Make smart decisions, don’t drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking and most importantly, please drive carefully and safe – you have bright futures ahead.


Monday, April 29,2019 – Speeding in School Zones: Concentration: Young Drivers, Speeding and Speeding in school Zones

Speeding General Statistics

  • In 2011, speeding was a factor in more than half (52 percent) of fatal crashes with a teen behind the wheel, nearly the same percentage as in 2008.
  • Speeding increases the stopping distance required to avoid a collision even as it reduces the amount of time a driver needs to avoid a collision (called the 3-second rule). It also increases the likelihood that the crash will result in injury.
  • Among crashes attributed to a critical teen driver error, 21 percent of serious teen driver crashes were due to driving too fast for road conditions.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and to allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next.


Risk to Child Passengers from Teen Driver: General Statistics

  • When 2 or more passengers (under age 16) are driven by teenagers (ages 16 to 19) they have three times the risk of injury in a crash than children driven by adults.1
  • Among children riding with teen drivers, the risk of crash injury is 40 percent lower if a sibling is driving.
  • The three biggest factors contributing to older child passengers dying in a crash:  riding with a driver age 16 or younger, not wearing seat belts, and traveling on high speed roads.
  • At ages 12 to 14, the risk of death in a crash for child passengers is similar to that of teen drivers.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Seatbelts and Child Restraints: Seat Belt Use   General Statistics

  • 2,206 young adults (ages 13-20) not wearing a seat belt died in crashes in 2013, 52 percent of the total that died in motor vehicle crashes that year.
  • In 2015, 6.1 percent of teen passengers reported rarely or never wearing a seat belt recently, nearly a 20 percent decrease since 1991.
  • Teens who live in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws are 12 percent more likely to buckle up as drivers and 15 percent more likely to buckle up as passengers compared to teens who reside in states with weaker secondary enforcement seat belt laws.
  • As teens move the stages of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), they are more likely to stay buckled up in primary enforcement states than in secondary enforcement states.
  • Teens more frequently associate seat belt use with a “safe driver” rather than a “good driver.”
  • Driving programs that combine education, peer-to-peer strategies, publicized enforcement, and parental monitoring may show potential for increasing teen seat belt use.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019: Cell Phone Use and Texting General Statistics

  • Even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors while driving.
  • In 2013, 10 percent of all drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash.
  • In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Cell phone use behind the wheel reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
  • Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free.
  • Teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents, more than general calling patterns would suggest.
  • Some activities—such as texting—take the driver’s attention away from driving more frequently and for longer periods than other distractions.
  • The overwhelming majority (75 percent) of serious teen driver crashes are due to “critical errors,” with the three common errors accounting for nearly half of these crashes:

–lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards

–going too fast for road conditions (e.g., driving too fast to respond to others or to successfully navigate a curve)

–being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle

  • Distraction was a key factor in 58 percent of crashes involving driver’s ages 16 to 19, according to an analysis of video footage of 1,691 moderate-to-severe crashes 6 seconds before they occurred.
  • Typing text messages reduces driver’s capability to adequately direct attention to the roadway, to respond to important traffic events, and to control a vehicle within a lane and with respect to other vehicles.

Operation Safe Stop Education and Enforcement Day is Thursday, May 2, 2019.

On May 2, 2019, Officers will partner with the Port Jervis City School District, Quality Bus and law enforcement officers around the state to participate in Operation Safe Stop Day.  During “Safe Stop,” police officers will be deployed in marked and unmarked patrol units on selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints.


Operation Safe Stop seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. Operation Safe Stop is a cooperative project supported by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the New York State Education Department, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, the New York State School Bus Contractors Association, the student transportation industry and state, county, city and local law enforcement agencies.


An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day.

  • It is illegal – and very dangerous – to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.
  • You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.
  • You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.
  • The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.
  • Worse yet, the memory of hitting or killing a child may be one you carry for the rest of your life!



Yellow lights mean the bus is going to stop. Slow down!

Red lights mean students are getting on or off the bus.


The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to proactively educate motorists about the dangers of passing stopped school buses.

Please help do your part to keep our children safe.


Friday May 3, 2019 Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving: General Statistics

  • In 2012, 27 percent of 16-20-year-old passenger vehicle drivers fatally injured in crashes had BACs of 0.08 percent or higher.
  • 24 percent of teen passengers report recently* riding with a teen driver who had been drinking.
  • In addition to direct impairments, driving while drowsy can also increase the existing risks of distracted driving and can put all road users at risk, including child passengers.
  • Impaired driving affects judgment, reaction times, and awareness, which is especially dangerous for teen drivers, who crash at four times the rate of adults primarily due to lack of driving skills, as well as inexperience.
  • Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes