Prom is a rite of passage, a way to celebrate the approaching end of a school year and, for seniors, the end of a high school career and the beginning of a new way of life. Sadly, prom also represents one of the most dangerous nights on the road for teens – many young people are a danger to themselves and to others because of drinking and driving.
Teenage auto accidents peak during prom season. Underage drinking is the cause of far too many car crashes in Michigan and nationwide. Peer pressure and a sense of camaraderie and revelry can override any teen’s common sense. And no one can truly prepare a teen for the actual moment of choice when they have to decide between getting in a car with a drunk driver or just saying no.
Parents can minimize the auto accident risks that go hand-in-hand with prom night by talking with their children about alcohol and the consequences of driving while intoxicated.
Create Post-Prom Plans for Teens
Many Michigan schools offer “lock-in” programs, post-prom parties where teens stay at school or a designated area and are treated to activities other than drinking. Many students are reluctant to join in these types of organized affairs – perhaps they’re not cool enough, or they want to be with their friends elsewhere. Parents, educators, and communities can work together to make this continuing prom celebration far more enticing than a night of drinking by offering amazing prizes and popular entertainment.
If your community doesn’t provide this type of post-prom activity, host a party at your own house where you know your teen will be safe and where you know alcohol will not be served. If you and other parents are ok with a co-ed sleepover, make it happen – keeping your kids away from alcohol is half the battle, but keeping them off the roads on prom night can also ensure their safety.
Eliminate the Need for Your Teen to Drive
Teens cherish their independence, and being able to pick up your date at her house and drive her to the prom is part of the experience. Instead, hire a driver or get together with other parents to rent a limo for a group of teens. The price is minimal compared to the price of your child’s life at the hands of a drunk driver.
Many parents may be reluctant to provide this type of transportation for fear that it will encourage drinking since no one will be driving. All you can do is educate your child, stress the importance of good and safe decisions, and hope that they will ultimately make the right choices. You can also instruct the driver to only take your teen to designated places and to call you if they appear to be drinking.
It Only Takes a Moment for an Auto Accident to Occur
Your child’s life is just beginning. Don’t allow alcohol to impair their judgment and lead to poor decisions. Educate them as best you can, and talk about the risks and consequences of drinking, and especially drinking and driving. Prom night should be fun, but it doesn’t have to be deadly. Contact Femminineo Attorneys PLLC to discuss an auto accident or drunk driving case with personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo.