When prom goes wrong: Talking to your teens about drunk driving

We’re approaching an exciting time of year with high school proms happening each weekend and graduation just around the corner. However, the good times can quickly turn tragic when teens are involved in automobile collisions that prematurely end their young lives just before they head to college.

After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that accidents involving alcohol spike during April, May and June, now might be a good time to talk to your teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving before it is too late.

In fact, according to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, and about 36 percent of all traffic-related deaths of people between 15 and 20 are alcohol related.

In our society, alcohol use is often glamorized, and teenagers often feel that they need to drink in order to fit in. However, not only can the use alcohol when underage lead to fines and a record, it also has been found to harm brain development. People who start drinking before they are 15 also have a higher chance of developing a dependency on alcohol in the future.

SADD, an organization made up of students, has recommend that parents use this time as an opportunity to discuss the dangers of drinking with their teenagers. Over time, research has shown that open and regular communication between parents and teens leads the teens to make better decisions.

Each year, we see far too many teenagers hurt or killed in car accidents. Car accidents can not only end lives prematurely, but can also lead to injuries, criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving to help keep the area safe during this upcoming time of celebration.

Source: The Courier Press, “Prom, graduation season accelerates dangers of underage drinking, drugs,” Nichole White, 4/4/2011.