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Protect teens during prom season 2024

It’s springtime in Wilmington and the cusp of prom season. This annual rite of passage for teens heightens their youthful exuberance. That heady feeling is enhanced by dressing up in fancy clothing and getting hair and nails professionally styled and manicured.

But that enthusiasm has yet to be tempered by the caution and common sense that come with adulthood. Irresponsible behaviors like underage drinking and driving contribute to a full third of teen deaths from alcohol-related collisions in the months from April to June.

Read on to learn about some perils of prom season and how parents can help prevent them.

Grim numbers don’t lie

A survey from 2022 commissioned by AAA revealed these sobering facts:

  • A shocking 82% of teens stated they had friends who would choose to drive while impaired rather than seeking adult assistance.
  • A third of high schoolers aged 16 to 19 claimed to have friends who will use illegal drugs and/or drink on prom night and during graduation celebrations.
  • As many as 21% of teens surveyed admitted to riding with a teen driver who was intoxicated.
  • Another 31% knew a teen who had been arrested for drunk driving.

Parents can no longer stick their heads into the sand and deny that their teens face peer pressure to consume alcohol and drugs and drive or ride with other impaired teens behind the wheel. Below are suggestions for keeping your children safer this prom and graduation season.

Have your teen take the sobriety pledge

All teenagers must understand that driving to prom (or anywhere else) is a privilege and not a right. Draw up a contract that you and your teen sign. They will pledge not to drive after indulging in alcohol or other drugs or ride with those who have indulged. In return, parents agree to pick up their teens any time and any place they feel unsafe, especially if they caved to peer pressure and took a drink or got high.

Consider driving alternatives

Having several parents or teens share the cost of a limo ride to prom is a safer bet than turning teens loose on the roads. Also, reputable limousine companies also don’t allow teens to consume alcohol in their cars.

Advocate for your teen after a wreck

If your teen ends up in a wreck due to another driver’s negligence, find out more about what you can do to help them through this difficult time. Legal guidance is wise.