Ramapo PD kicks off 'No Empty Chair' campaign educating young drivers on dangers of reckless driving

Joe Torres Image
Monday, April 15, 2024
Ramapo police launch 'No Empty Chair' campaign educating young drivers
Joe Torres has more on Ramapo Police Department's new "No Empty Chair" campaign.

RAMAPO, New York (WABC) -- Just seconds after Ramapo Police Officer Danielle Modica put her cruiser in park, a speeding driver zoomed past her in a 15 mph school zone.

19-year-old college student Brian Urena offered the following explanation.

"I have class at 12 p.m. and it is currently 11:54 a.m., and I was panicking to get to class so I won't have my third absence so I won't get kicked out of the class," Urena said.

The Ramapo Police Department kicked off a weeklong traffic safety initiative on Monday called the "No Empty Chair" campaign.

With proms and graduations quickly approaching, police, parents and teachers want to be sure there are "no empty chairs" for teenagers killed by reckless drivers.

"The leading cause of death between ages 16-20 was because of motor vehicle crashes. So the hope is that these young kids that just got their license realize they are not invincible," Modica said.

On Monday, police focused on their "no tolerance" approach on speeders in school zones. Tomorrow, the attention turns to seat and child restraints.

On Wednesday, officers will be on the lookout for people using handheld phones or texting while driving. On Thursday, it's a crackdown on school bus safety. Friday's target: underage drinking and impaired driving.

While some officers are on the street, others will be in the classroom.

"They are doing education to the high school students, the ones that are about to get their licenses, the ones that have their licenses -- pretty much educating them on the rules of the road and the dangers of distracted driving."

The "No Empty Chair" campaign is actually a statewide effort. While Ramapo Police chose this week to launch the campaign in Ramapo, many other departments will kick off their weeklong crackdown next Monday, all with the same goal in mind: to make the roads safer for everyone.

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