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Prom night is a rite of passage that will hopefully be filled with fun times that make lasting good memories. There can be many mixed emotions around this time, particularly among concerned parents. While the teens excitedly choose attire, their parents dwell in angst.
One of the reasons parents are so anxious about the night is concern for their child’s safety. On one hand, parents are proud to see their children grow into adults and celebrate graduation with their peers. On the other hand, they are concerned about drug and alcohol use and worry that their child might succumb to peer pressure.
Parents have good reason to be concerned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximates that over the past few years, about 300 teens have died in alcohol-related traffic accidents during prom weekend. A recent survey by Students Against Drunk Drivers found that an astounding 85 percent of teens said they were more likely to drive impaired than call their parents to pick them up over fear of getting in trouble with their parents.
Unfortunately, appointing a designated driver and assuming they will not drink is a bit of a gamble. The best intentions can be overtaken by the excitement of the moment. Putting the pressure on one child to provide protection to the others is not necessarily going to work.
The vicious cycle of worry and fear must be replaced with a practical approach. Parents and teens should agree on how transportation back and forth to prom (and any after parties) will happen in advance. Some parents may chip in to pay for a group to be transported by limo. This is not an option for most people. It may not be the most popular choice, but in the end, arranging for an adult to transport the kids back and forth to the prom and any after parties – judgment free – no question asked – is probably the plan that will best minimize risk of a car accident on prom night.
Calling for a taxi is also an option. A pilot program for establishing “teen accounts” was tested but recently discontinued by Uber. At this time ride-share programs such as Lyft and Uber require account holders be 18 or older.
If advanced plans for experienced adult drivers are not in the cards, then parents need to have a healthy dialogue with their teen before prom about the adult behavior they will need to exhibit in order to remain safe. Warn against drinking and driving and get a verbal commitment from the teen that they will neither drive drunk nor get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Let them know you will arrange for a ride if necessary. Additionally, get them to agree they will not text while driving or get in a car with someone who does. Before prom night might be a good time to start cultivating this behavior.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Arrange for a free consultation by completing our online form or calling 302-834-8484 today. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including those in Elsmere and Seaford, from our offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington.