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Keep Teens Safe on Prom Night

Prom night represent a high-risk time for teenagers, especially girls who will be riding in the passenger seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16-year olds have the highest fatality rate, and 48 percent of the deaths were passengers.

Listed below are some suggestions for keeping teens safe on prom night and throughout their high school driving years.

  1. Before your car leaves the driveway on prom night, be sure your car in its best mechanical shape, and take the time to show your teenagers how to perform routine maintenance checks as well.
  2. Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to transport. The risk of a car crash goes up exponentially for  each passenger added. If your teen is a new driver, prom night is not the night to let him/her loose with the car!
  3.  Alcohol is one of the prime ingredients in teen car crashes. Tell your teen not to drink and drive and lead by example.
  4. Insist that your teen and all passengers wear their seat belts. Again, every time you drive reinforce this rule by buckling up yourself.
  5. Check the legal transportation requirements for teenage drivers. Some states allow driving after midnight for school events; other states do not permit it. If transportation is needed, make alternative arrangements such as acting as chauffeur, arranging for a car pool with another parent, or hiring a taxi.

Prom night is not the only night when teens need to practice safe driving.  Remember, most fatal car crashes occur during the summer. There are many programs to help the parents of new drivers.

One such program, the I Promise Program, provides parents and teens with a mutual safe driving contract and then provides a means for their mutual accountability.

Source: Bulletin, April, 2002, Associated School Boards of South Dakota