Avoid the Perils of Prom & Graduation
Avoid the Perils of Prom & Graduation
“We know that 94% of all car crashes are caused by human choice or error,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As exciting and fun as it is, both prom and graduation commencement events can be filled with danger between the Lower and Upper Cape regions and all towns in between. One senseless split second separates a teen wearing a gown, tux or graduation robe from a life-changing car crash or other type of injury that many times involve alcohol, cannabis or worse as the opioid epidemic spreads.
Unfortunately, our law practice has seen first-hand the devastating effects of alcohol, marijuana and many other drug-induced driving accidents during prom and graduation season.
The sheer number of prom-going teenagers who will soon graduate from high schools in May and into early June is staggering in Barnstable County. No fewer than a dozen public, private and parochial schools from Bourne to Nauset and all over Cape Cod, are hosting proms and graduations in spring: Mashpee High School, Falmouth High and Falmouth Academy, Sturgis East and West, St. John Paul II and Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Sandwich High School, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and Monomoy in Chatham, to name just a few. Worse yet, Prom for almost all schools falls on the same night, which also happens to be Memorial Day weekend where traffic is at record levels with summer folks flocking to the Cape.
In each of these schools, hundreds of students are in party mode, in hundreds of vehicles dashing between prom sites, often on same weekends; and this ring true with graduation weekend as well. And it’s on prom night, however, that sees more teenagers on the road than any other night in high school. It’s the beginning of graduation ‘season’ that sees more newly-minted high school graduates seemingly without a care in the world. Perfect storms for peril.
For parents and guardians and those who safeguard communities, nothing is scarier than a partying teenager who drinks and then operates a motor vehicle. Sadly, these concerns are shared nationwide. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that during a typical prom weekend, at least fifty teens are killed and another 5,000 are injured. Graduation celebrations are nearly equally as dangerous. In fact, the summer between high school and the start of college is sadly and traditionally, a very dangerous time for teens because of alcohol, distracted driving, and timing: on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights more teens die in accidents than any other part of the week.
You can and should do plenty to prevent potential tragedies. Vast resources exist to keep parents informed and their kids, safe. With young adult children in our own families, we’re veterans of the ‘Parental Prom Syndrome’ and we get it: the worries over safety partnered with the joy on these kids’ faces.
5 Protocols for Prom & Graduation:
- Find out if your teen’s school has a specific game plan or schedule of events and be sure your teen remains committed to this formal plan;
- Have a blunt conversation with your teen driver about drugs, drinking and driving on prom night and graduation weekend. Prom is a night of celebration, but high schoolers should not equate celebratory options that include illegal drugs and alcohol;
- Get everyone’s mobile numbers and make a plan about curfews. Be vigilant in addressing your concerns with your teen and their friends and have everyone agree on an itinerary;
- BUCKLE UP Emphasize that motor vehicle accidents are life-changing: results include brain damage, broken bones, disfigurement, a range of permanent disabilities, and death. If your teen driver was negligent and caused an accident, your child’s entire future is at stake. Social media sites like YouTube offer a wealth of graphic information that your teens may rather view than listen to a lecture;
- Invest in alternate group transportation. Limo’s, Uber, Lyft, A Helping Van or even older siblings paid to drive are tremendous, affordable options that save lives and liability.
Ensure the Well-being of Cape Communities
A safe prom weekend and graduation season requires parents to partner with their teens to make a family plan that keeps all prom-goers safe. Do your part to ensure the safety and well-being of your children, their friends and all our young adults throughout the Cape Cod communities.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of others, we encourage you to reach out to us because we are injury attorneys with extensive experience handling these types of cases. Attorneys Steven and Paul Aiken, will help you recover money and protect your family, something Aiken and Aiken, P.C. has been doing on Cape Cod and throughout Southeastern Massachusetts for 40 years.
Please, call our office for a Free Consultation at 508-771-2266 or toll free at 800-794-2291.