Why teen sobriety is important on prom night

With teens across the Chicagoland preparing for prom season, it is important to realize the potential for drunk driving accidents. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It may go without saying, but teen drivers are known for taking risks while behind the wheel, such as driving above the speed limit and using electronic devices while driving (i.e. texting and driving). While alcohol use is prevalent among high school students, the potential for drinking and driving remains a serious issue, especially given the mentality that many teens carry: “it won’t happen to me.” Unfortunately, the combination of cavalier attitudes towards personal safety combined with lowered inhibitions due to alcohol consumption make drinking a driving an extraordinary danger for teens.  

It would not be surprising to see public service announcements warning young drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving. In fact, many area high schools are participating in a Safe and Sober Prom Campaign that focuses on showing teen drivers the benefits of abstaining from alcohol during their special night.

Indeed, public campaigns can bring a great deal of awareness to the issue at such an important time of the school year, but sound and safe decisions regarding alcohol use really starts at home. Basically, parents and teens should have honest and frank conversations about the dangers of drinking and driving. More than talking about the criminal implications, parents and teens should discuss how lives can be permanently affected by irresponsible decisions. This is important because when teens understand the personal risks (criminal or otherwise) they are more likely to make better decisions.

Additionally, the civil implications should be explained as well. If a teen driver causes an accident while driving his or her parents’ car, the parents could be held liable. Those injured could seek compensation for pain and suffering, and medical expenses. Of course, the parents’ insurance will be the target of those injured in a crash, but this scenario can be avoided by making good decisions about how to spend prom night.  

The preceding is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

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