City of Port Jervis Police Department to participate in the 2023  GTSC “No Empty Chair” Teen Driving Safety Campaign

April 24, 2023 – April 28, 2023

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 will be joining police officers across New York State to participate in the 2023 Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee “No Empty Chair” Teen Driver Safety Initiative during the week of April 24, 2023 – April 28, 2023, 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 2023 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 City Police Department 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 24, 2023 – Speeding in School Zones:  Concentration:  Young Drivers, Speeding and Speeding in School Zones

Speeding General Statistics

  • 35% of male drivers and 18% of female drivers (ages 15–20 years) who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash in 2020.
  • 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.

Risk to Child Passengers from Teen Driver: General Statistics

  • The presence of teen or young adult passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with each additional teen or young adult passenger

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 – Seatbelts and Child Restraints:  Seat Belt Use   General Statistics

  • For adults and older children, using seat belts correctly and consistently is the most effective way to reduce injuries and save lives in crashes. Seat belts are designed to help keep occupants inside vehicles and lower the risk of being ejected if a crash occurs.
  • Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
  • Among teen drivers and passengers 16–19 years of age who were killed in car crashes in 2020, 56%† were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash

Wednesday, April 26, 2023: Cell Phone Use and Texting General Statistics

  • Distraction negatively effects driving performance for all drivers but can be especially dangerous for young, inexperienced drivers. 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.
  • Results from the 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that, among U.S. high school students who drove, 39% texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the 30 days before the survey.
  • Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free.
  • Distraction was a key factor in 58 percent of crashes involving drivers 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 drivers' 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, April 27, 2023.

On April 27, 2023, 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 April 28, 2023: Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving: General Statistics

  • Drinking any amount of alcohol before driving increases crash risk among teen drivers.
  • Teen drivers have a much higher risk for being involved in a crash than older drivers at the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC), even at BAC levels below the legal limit for adults.
  • Drinking alcohol is illegal for people less than 21 years of age, as is driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Despite this, in 2020, 29 % of drivers aged 15–20 who were killed in fatal motor vehicle crashes had been drinking.

Parents, Guardians, Friends and loved ones of a teen aged driver; You can make a difference and help keep our young drivers safe!

The CDC offers an excellent program called “Parents Are the Keys to Safe Teen Drivers” which can be accessed at

Have regular conversations about safety, practice safe driving behaviors together, and lead by example!  This role modeling will go a long way in ensuring your teen makes smart decisions when they get behind the wheel.

Create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that clearly identifies the rules of safe driving behaviors along with your expectations and limits.  To download a copy of the CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, click on the following link:

Your proactive actions can help reduce crashes and save a life!

For additional resources please refer to the below links: