New York State encouraging teens to drive safe ahead of prom, graduation

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new campaign is being launched, and it’s aimed at keeping teenagers safe on the roads.

The New York State Police is teaming up with the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and local law enforcement to try to minimize the number of teens involved in crashes ahead of prom and graduation season.

According to the National Traffic Safety and Highway Administration, more than 16,000 crashes in New York State in 2013 involved young drivers. Of those crashes, 120 were fatal.

Details of the week-long safety campaign were released during a news conference at Shaker High School Friday morning. In December 2012, two Shaker students were involved in a crash on the Northway that resulted in the deaths of two out of four passengers.

A drunk driver, who was also texting, crashed into a vehicle carrying Shenendehowa High School students Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers and Shaker students Matthew Hardy and Bailey Wind.

Patricia Hardy is the mother of Matthew Hardy who survived the crash.

“Every parent’s worst nightmare,” she said. “We relive that night forever in our minds. And for me, a morning never passes that I don’t wake up wondering is Matthew really alive.”

The safety campaign kicks off next week in the hopes of prevent other tragic accidents.

“Certainly, we don’t want them to have to experience these tragedies themselves,” NYSP Major Steven James said. “So I think it’s a worthwhile investment.”

“Please buckle your seatbelt,” Chuck Deweese, Asst. Commissioner with the Traffic Safety Committee, said. “That’s the number one thing I want to tell people. Front seat or back seat. Don’t drive impaired. Don’t text and drive.”

Two years after the Northway accident, Hardy said her family is still healing, but that’s why she said she attended the event – to raise awareness of teen driving safety and possibly save a life.

“It’s all about making good choices, caring about yourself, others, and your community,” she said. “And you’re not invincible.”

As part of the campaign, police will target speeders, people who are texting and driving and impaired driving.


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