Picente & Maciol Announce 2019 Teen Traffic Safety Week & No Empty Chair Campaign Details

Week-long Driver Safety Education and Enforcement Accompanied by Baseball Classic

NEW YORK MILLS — County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol kicked off their respective 2019 Teen Traffic Safety Week and No Empty Chair Campaign events today at New York Mills Jr./Sr. High School.

A joint effort of the Oneida County STOP-DWI Program and the Oneida County Youth Bureau, along with participating school districts, partners and sponsors, the Teen Traffic Safety Week education program is presented to county high school students annually just prior to prom season.

It educates them on the effects of tobacco and marijuana use; opiate addiction; bullying, work zone driving safety, teen dating/sexual violence assaults and the dangers of texting and driving and drinking and driving.

“The teenage years are a critical time when life or death decisions can arise in the blink of an eye,” Picente said. “It is of the utmost importance that we equip our teens with the tools they need to make the best choices they can when they are at their most vulnerable. This educational program is an extremely effective way to reach our young people through personal stories of tragedy and life-like demonstrations that make them aware of the consequences of destructive decisions.”

Similarly, the statewide No Empty Chair Campaign educates students on the dangers of impaired and distracted driving through School Resource Officers and sports team coaches, and also involves increased patrols by law enforcement agencies near local high schools enforcing violations of the Graduated Driver Licensing law.

The GDL law is intended to give young drivers time to develop critical skills and experience in various traffic scenarios while limiting the number of passengers to reduce distractions.

“Spring is a great time of year for teens as they celebrate their accomplishments, prepare for the opportunities ahead, and enjoy their sporting events outside” Maciol said. “They should enjoy this time and not have their happy memories destroyed by a preventable tragedy. By educating our young drivers about these important highway safety issues and enforcing our traffic laws, we are doing all we can to ensure there are no empty chairs during prom and graduation season this year. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is honored to always partner with Oneida County Executive Picente, the Oneida County Office of Traffic Safety, the Oneida County STOP-DWI Program, and the schools throughout Oneida County as we deliver these critical safety programs to our teens.”

This year’s Teen Traffic Safety Week events will take place at the following schools with special guest speaker Edward Devitt II delivering a presentation called “A Brain New Day” about his recovery from the severe brain trauma he suffered as the result of a drunk driving crash when he was a teenager.

  • April 23: Oriskany Jr./Sr. High School at 10 a.m.
  • April 24: Rome Free Academy at 7:45 a.m.
  • April 25: Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School at 9:30 a.m.
  • April 29: Remsen Jr./Sr. High School at 9 a.m. and Holland Patent High School at 10:30 a.m.
  • April 30: Westmoreland Jr./Sr. High School at 7:45 a.m.

The No Empty Chair Campaign enforcement component will target specific infractions statewide during the week, as well as other vehicle and traffic law violations. The target dates are as follows:

  • April 29: Speeding in school zones
  • April 30: Seatbelts and child restraints
  • May 1: Cell phone use and texting
  • May 2: Operation Safe Stop
  • May 3: Underage drinking and impaired driving

As part of Teen Traffic Safety Week, the 8th Annual STOP-DWI High School Baseball Classic will also take place on the following days and times at Delutis Field in Rome:

April 26:

• Notre Dame vs. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill at 4:30 p.m.

• New Hartford vs. Camden at 7 p.m.

April 27:

• Waterville vs. New York Mills at 11 a.m.

• Holland Patent vs. Westmoreland at 2 p.m.

• Oriskany vs. West Canada at 5 p.m.

Each school location will have traffic safety educational stations, as will the baseball games, which will also feature a demonstration by the NYS DOT.

Later next month, mock crashes will take place on May 17 at 8:45 a/.m. at VVS High School and on May 23 at noon at Westmoreland Jr./Sr. High School.

Teen Traffic Safety Week Education Schedule

STOP-DWI Baseball Classic Schedule

Photo Caption: (L-R) New York Mills Superintendent Joanne Shelmidine, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol and Oneida County STOP-DWI Coordinator Dave Tomidy.