Prom season has a bad reputation, and with good reason. Ninety percent of teens believe that their peers are more likely to drink and drive on prom night, and 54 percent of students have four or more drinks on prom night, according to a study conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and a leading insurance company. But even admitting these beliefs and behaviors isn’t enough to stop teens from continuing to make bad choices that lead to fatal car accidents. As a result, prom night can be one of the deadliest for teens.
What Parents Can Do to Keep Their Teen Prom-Goer Safe
Prom is something to look forward to – the date, the gown, the photos, the good time with friends. But all that fuss can be for nothing if prom-goers don’t make it home safely at the end of the night. Ideally, parents don’t condone drinking or provide their teens with alcohol. But 36 percent of teens said their parents have knowingly allowed them to attend parties where alcohol was present and available and, far worse, 14 percent of teens say their parents have hosted teen gatherings with alcohol. If you want to keep your budding adult safe, put rules in place, not only for prom night but permanently:
- Know your teen’s schedule for the entire night – who they will be with, where, and when.
- Initiate a discussion with your teen about drinking and driving. And talk about drinking in general and how it can lead to all manner of emergencies for your child and others.
- Encourage your teen to call you – no questions asked – if at any point in the evening they feel unsafe, whether they are intoxicated themselves or with an intoxicated driver who is too drunk to get behind the wheel but is nevertheless attempting to do so.
- Forbid your teen to attend any prom after-parties where you know alcohol is being served to minors.
- When alcohol is a temptation that some teens find impossible to say no to with peer pressure all around on prom night, renting a limo or sedan with a hired driver for the night can be the safest choice.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and SADD, as well as many other organizations, recommend that parents take steps to keep their teen drivers safe on prom night:
- Get a commitment from your teen about promising not to drink and drive, nor use their cell phone behind the wheel of the car.
- Designate times for your teen to check in with you on prom night, via text or call, so you know if their location or plans are changing.
- Find out what your teen’s plans are for the entire evening and who will be responsible for driving him or her to different locations.
- Set your expectations for your teen and his or her behavior and review these with your teen, including the dangers of drinking and driving and the higher accident rates on prom night.
- Make sure your teen is aware of the consequences – from you, the law, and the school – of using poor judgment.
A teen’s first reaction to your cautionary statements might be that you are overreacting or being overly cautious or simply trying to ruin their fun. Make it plain to your child that you are looking out for their safety, and you care enough about them to want them to enjoy their prom night, not remember it as a tragedy. If your child is involved in a teen car accident because of the fault of a drunk driver, contact David Femminineo today to discuss your case.