Prom is a classic tradition for high schools in America and is usually held towards the end of the academic year, serving as an opportunity for students to let loose and have some fun. From limos and chartered buses to taxis and private cars, the opportunity for hiring transport is enormous. But many high school students prefer to ditch these choices and drive themselves, only to end up in a nightmare several hours later. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that nearly
But many high school students prefer to ditch these choices and drive themselves, only to end up in a nightmare several hours later. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that nearly 300 teens have died in alcohol-related accidents over the last few years, creating a nightmare prom night for all parties involved.
Prom Nights Transforming Into Alcohol-Laden Adventures
Prom is no longer just about dancing and having a good time. It has morphed into a myriad of different activities, serving as an opportunity for teens to drink and do drugs. Senior prom is typically close to the time students are due to graduate from high school. They have a new-found sense of freedom with college being their next step. With this party attitude and a feeling of ‘adulthood’ looming, many teens look at prom as their entry into a mature phase and end up drinking on prom night, even though they are underage. Prom night has become entrenched with harmful choices and poor judgment from teenagers. For too many years, alcohol-related deaths, sexual assaults, crimes, and injuries have been reported on prom night.
Further data from the NHTSA reveals that 1 in 3 teens under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related accidents during graduation or prom season. A survey reported that nearly 1 in 10 teens reported to being a passenger in a car on prom night driven by someone under the influence. A 2009 study revealed that 90 percent of teens felt that their friends were more likely to drink and drive on prom night than any other time. While prom is supposed to be unforgettable for high school students, these statistics reveal the tragedies that make this a night they want to forget.
Action has been taken against errant students by the authorities in many instances. For instance, over 20 Methacton High School students were given 5-day suspensions during their prom. While this Philadelphia high school – like many others – has sought to fight drinking during prom, students and parents must take appropriate action on their own to prevent tragedies from occurring on prom night.
How Teens Can Stay Safe On The Night
While prom night is certainly exciting, teens should consider the long-term repercussions of bad decisions.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Avoid riding with an intoxicated friend.
- Arrange for safe transportation on prom night.
- Attend after-prom parties without alcohol.
- Stay with close friends and keep an eye out for each other.
- Never leave any drink unattended.
- Follow the instructions given by your parents and guardians for your safety.
While peer pressure may entice you to have a drink or two, think about the dangers that come with underage drinking, especially when you have your whole future ahead of you, as a teenager. Too many tragic incidents have already taken place where underage drinkers have gotten into driving accidents — causing lifelong injuries, paralysis, and even death.
Parents Have A Huge Responsibility
Just like students, parents too have a responsibility to help their children remain safe on prom night. These tips will help parents act more responsibly:
- Help your kids with their transportation plans and know where they will be throughout.
- Don’t give permission for parties serving alcohol.
- Get all details about prom from the school authorities.
- Discuss the harmful effects of drinking and driving with your kids.
- Encourage your kids to call you if they are with an intoxicated driver or even if they have had a few drinks.
- Don’t host parties for kids and serve alcohol to them – you could face jail time and serious fines.
Drinking and driving is a serious offence by any means – but apart from breaking the law – this bad decision could result in the loss of several lives. While awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving during prom night is increasing, it’s important for people to view this as a very real threat to prevent this problem from unnecessarily claiming innocent lives in the country.