According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), prom season is the time of year when parents worry most about their teens making poor choices about alcohol and driving. They should worry: 4,300 people each year are killed by teens drinking and driving, according to MADD. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and MADD wants to make sure that you don’t become a statistic – don’t drink at prom or prom-related events like pre-prom and after parties, and never, ever drink and drive.
Absolutely nothing ruins prom memories more than the death of a teen while driving to or from the event. The good news is that there are so many ways parents and teens can help prevent needless death, and instead focus on the fun times and lifelong memories you’re supposed to make at prom!
Parents – Never Condone Underage Social Drinking
While most parents will claim that underage social drinking is bad, too many tolerate alcohol use when it is at home, like at pre-prom or after parties that happen at private residences. This sends the signal that there are times when underage drinking is okay, and promotes the use of alcohol to accentuate social experiences like prom.
Fact – what you need to enjoy prom is a gorgeous prom dress, your best friends and some groovy music. What you don’t need is alcohol.
Parents can help teens make the right choices by ensuring that alcohol use at social events for underage teens is never acceptable. Further, parents can actually be held legally liable if someone is caught drinking at a party at a private residence, so it makes all kinds of sense to put your foot down and let your teen know that underage alcohol use is out of the question.
Do Make It Safe to Ask for Help
While it’s important that parents are firm about their teens not drinking at prom, and certainly not drinking and driving, it is equally important to accept that some kids will still make mistakes and may need help. Parents need to engrain in their children that if a mistake is made, the only course of action is to call home and let someone know that a ride is needed. Any parent would rather receive a call for a ride than a call from the police.
Arrange Safe Transportation
One way to ensure that your teens remain safe whether or not they make good decisions is to hire safe transportation for prom.
As a school district, many leaders have chosen to take teen driving almost completely out of the equation. Transportation from school via luxury motor coach, to and from the prom venue is required, and students must agree to take the transportation if they want to attend prom. This dramatically reduces the chances that teens will consume alcohol at a pre-party or at prom itself and then drive. It doesn’t completely eliminate the problem, especially where after parties are concerned, but it’s a bit step in the right direction.
If your school does not provide such transportation, consider hiring a limo or a small party bus to transport your teens to and from all prom activities. While they can be costly, you can split the cost between several couples, and the expense is far better than the consequences of drunk driving.
Book limo transportation early as most regions have a limited number of vehicles for hire available. Make sure the start and end times of your contract cover all of the pick ups and drop offs needed so no one is stranded.
Do not let your teen become a statistic. Learn what you can, in advance, about coaching a teen through making good choices while still having fun. Establish an environment of trust, and your teen will both thrive and survive!