Spring has sprung, which means blooming flowers, weddings and baseball season, but for teenagers across the country it means one thing — Prom.
While your teens are probably more concerned with what they will wear and who are they going to the prom with, talking to them about the importance of making safe and responsible decisions on Prom night should be your top priority.
Chances are your teen is worried too: 90 percent of teens felt that their peers would drive drunk after prom — that is a number that is WAY too high. In 2009, more than one-third of the alcohol-related fatalities of those under the age of 21 occur during prom and graduation season.1
Why teen drivers scare the bejesus out of me
Not only are we dealing with drivers who are inexperienced, if a risky variable such as underage drinking the consequences can be lethal. Not to mention the new safety epidemic that affects drivers of all ages and is considered to be just as dangerous (if not more) than drinking and driving: Distracted Driving
I think of vehicles as weapons of mass destruction — both have incredible power and speed — and the ability to take away life. Car accidents due to inexperienced driving is understandable as well as somewhat unavoidable — it’s simply a fact of life than can be tolerated. But when a driver decides to get behind the wheel with distractions, booze and selfish decisions their car becomes a “loaded weapon” — is intolerable and 100% preventable.
Talk to your teen — laying down the rules isn’t easy — but then again, neither is saving lives
Top 10 Prom Safety Tips for Parents:
- Make sure your child has a plan for the evening and that you know all the details of it.
- Know all of the “hot spot” destinations and the timeline for the evening.
- Do not serve your teen or friends any alcohol under any circumstance.
- Take stock of the alcohol in your home before prom night. Hide it, if possible.
- Know who’s driving. If a limousine is used to transport the students, check with their policy on allowing alcohol in the vehicle.
- Discuss the school’s prom rules with your child and the consequences of breaking them.
- Insist on seatbelt use at all times, even in a limo.
- Do not rent hotel rooms for prom-goers.
- Communicate with other parents and school officials.
- Stay up until your student returns home safely from the prom or after-prom get-togethers.
Have your teen make the following promise before celebrating:
I promise not to drink alcohol or take drugs.
I promise not to drive under the influence.
I promise not to let my friends drive under the influence.
I promise my parents I will get home safely.
1. AAA PROMise 2012 Fact Sheet
- 3 Tips for Parents to Discuss Prom Safety with Teens
- Drunk Driving After Prom: Perception vs. Reality
- Statistics from SADD
- Don’t depend on dumb luck