High school is full of defining moments for teens and two of the highlights are prom and graduation. While a cause for celebrating, statistics confirm that prom and graduation season — the months of April, May, and June — is also the most dangerous time for teenagers.
Last week, four high school students were on their way to prom when the driver veered the Tesla sedan off the road, over-corrected, then drove into a ditch before hitting a telephone pole, according to police. Both back seat passengers were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the car, according to police. All four students were transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. Three were released on Sunday, however, one backseat passenger died yesterday from injuries sustained. The driver and the front seat passenger were wearing seatbelts; the passenger had to be extricated from the vehicle.
The crash is still under investigation, it is believed that speed was a factor.
What should be a joyful and exciting time should not result in pain, suffering, even death. Yet, one-third of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teens occur during this time of year; over 5,000 teens are injured, and 48 are killed nationwide in car crashes on a typical prom weekend, according to the U. S. Department of Transportation.
It goes without saying that it is critical for parents talk to their teens about the importance of making safe and responsible decisions. Here are a few tips:
Know your teen’s transportation plans. Unless he/she is taking a limo, one of the most important things to discuss is driving safety. Many teens will rent a limo, but if your son/daughter will be driving or riding with a friend, remind him/her of the dangers of distracted driving. Impress the importance of wearing a seatbelt, no matter how short the trip. Make sure your teen has money to cover alternative transportation costs, if necessary.
Avoiding Illegal Activities
Talk candidly about the dangers of underage drinking in general. Make sure your teen knows how to handle difficult situations. Discuss the dangers of:
- Drinking and driving
- Accepting a ride from a drunk driver
- Excessive alcohol or legal & illegal drugs
- Succumbing to pressure to engage in sexual activity
Staying in Contact
Know your teen’s itinerary, including whom he/she will be with and the phone numbers of where you can contact him/her. Agree to have your teen text you every hour or so or when he/she change locations. Encourage your teen to call you if ever put in a dangerous situation, no matter the time.
Set a curfew unless your son/daughter will be staying overnight with a friend. If you give your teen an extended curfew, discuss the dangers of driving while fatigued.
Congratulations to all graduates! Lawsuit Financial hopes you make many memories – for the right reason.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.