Millions of teens across the country are excitedly preparing for high school prom season. Finding the right date, suit, and dress are among those wonderful milestones high-schoolers look forward to and adults remember fondly. Yet according to the latest data on prom weekend car accidents, there is a real threat looming over these magical evenings – drinking and driving.
According to recent surveys, around one-third or more of teens and their friends will likely use drugs or alcohol at prom. Even more troubling, many of them will drive under the influence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 300 teens have died in crashes during prom weekend in the past few years. Parents and educators need to warn their teens about the dangers of drunk driving and guide them to make smart choices for fun and safe prom season.
Teens and Drinking and Driving
Every year, drunk driving car accidents claim more than 1,400 people under the age of 21. This risk is elevated during occasions like prom and graduation, where teens are more likely to drink and use recreational drugs. Underage drinking impacts teens in every economic and social stratum. Seventy percent of teens across the board admit using alcohol at some point.
There are many reasons why teens drink. Their brain development during adolescence makes them more likely to take risks then they will later in life. Without the benefit of life experience and real consequences, they feel invincible. For many, social drinking is a matter of peer pressure. They just want to fit in.
Tips for Encouraging Teens to Stay Safe During Prom
Drunk driving accidents are preventable. Studies show when parents take a proactive approach to talking to their teen about the risks of drinking and driving, driver deaths among teens are reduced by more than half.
The following are some tips for guiding your teen to make healthy and decisions during prom.
- Weave in talks about drinking and driving casually into other conversations, maybe during dress or suit shopping. Teens tend to tune out “lectures.”
- Some teens are exposed to alcohol or drugs inadvertently through “spiked” drinks. Remind your child to never leave their drink unattended.
- Ask them how they would handle certain prom night scenarios. What if a friend is drunk and tries to drive? What if their date pressures them to drink? Hearing their problem-solving process allows you to guide them in the right direction.
- Empower teens to say no and model safe behaviors. Sometimes young adults just need a friend to say, “Hey that’s not a good idea” or “maybe you shouldn’t drive right now” for them to think twice. Encourage your child to be that leader.
Most importantly, be that safe place for your teen. They should never be afraid to call you if they have had too much to drink or do not feel safe driving with a friend who has. Forego the lecture and just feel reassured that your child trusted you enough to ask for help.
Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm Represent Victims Injured in Drunk Driving Accidents
At D’Amato Law Firm, we take a methodical approach to building your case one step at a time. If you have been injured in an accident with a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we will do everything necessary to prove their liability and recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Atlantic City car accident lawyer, call 609-926-3300 or contact us online. Based in Egg Harbor Township, our team proudly represents clients throughout South Jersey.