Last week, two teenage girls lost their lives in a car accident just hours after their high school prom. According to the police report, the car veered off Route 49 and slammed into a tree. The 17-year-old driver lost her life on impact, while the other died in a hospital. Two other girls were injured, but were in stable condition. Police do not know the exact reason the car veered off the road. However, the cause of accidents on prom night typically are due to drunk teenage driving.
What Can Parents Do to Keep Their Teens Safe on Prom Night?
Each year, high school students lay out detailed plans for their upcoming prom. From the perfect dress, to the matching suit and from their dates to the right flowers, prom is supposed to be just right. What they don’t plan on is their perfect night ending in tragedy.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that at least ten teenagers die each day due to injuries from car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 300 teenagers die in an alcohol-related car accidents during prom weekend every year, for the past seven years.
However, there are some steps parents can take to talk to their teenager about the dangers of drunk driving on prom night, including the following:
- Talk to your teen about the rules of prom night. Be ready with the prom schedule, including the start and end times. Also, include an itinerary of the post-prom events.
- Look into national pledges or local pledges in your area and ask your teen to sign one that promises to remain alcohol-free and safe on prom night.
- It may be more expensive, but you may want to hire a limousine for your child’s prom night. If you cannot afford one on your own, see if other parents will pool together to get a group of teens home safely.
- Have some check-in times scheduled for your teen where they will call you to give you an update.
- Make sure your teen has some cash for a cab, in case they are put in a situation where their friends are not driving safely.
- Encourage your teen to call you if anything happens, including if they or their friends are not sober enough to drive. They must feel like they have someone to turn to.
The most important part is having an open conversation with your teen about how dangerous it is to drink and drive. Talk to them about the statistics and tell them stories that have appeared in your local news. Remind them that not only can they hurt themselves, they could injure or possibly kill someone and have to live the rest of their lives with that weight on their shoulders. Remind them it is not just their lives at stake, but their friends’ lives as well.
While prom is supposed to be the best memory teens can take away from high school, it is important they be made aware of the dangers that can occur.