Perspective Newsletter

Keep teens safe on prom night

​Bow ties, boutonnieres, glittery gowns, and lacquered locks – the props for a picture-perfect prom. Amid the excitement of finding just the right 'do and dress, it's easy for teens to dismiss the darker side of this big night – the "after parties" and distractions that can lead to tragedy on the highway.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls April, May, and June the danger season for teens. More than one-third of the year's alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur around prom and graduation time. Not only are teens more likely to imbibe then, but they're driving in challenging circumstances. Nerves and excitement, running late to pick up a date, showing off for friends in the car, lack of sleep, or even wearing stiff-soled dress shoes or binding garb can tip the scales against inexperienced drivers.

Prom night safety infographic  

April is a great time to make a "Prom Plan" with other parents and to set expectations with your teen:

  • Leave the car at home. Prom is all about glamour – and what could be more glamorous than arriving and departing in a limousine? Talk to other parents in your child's circle of friends to see about splitting costs. It could be more affordable than you think if you can gather a big enough crowd. For example, one Seattle-area limo service advertises a 10-passenger limo for $95 per hour. Even with a six-hour rental, that works out to $114 per couple, assuming five couples chip in. Be sure to reserve early! Or, if a limo's not an option, parents can literally don a chauffeur's cap themselves. (Hint: Skip the minivan. Rent a classy convertible or luxury car, instead!)
  • Limit passengers if teens must drive themselves – no more than one other couple, and be back by midnight. Teen crashes skyrocket on prom nights between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Give your teen an escape plan. Anyone can find themselves in an unexpected situation, (in a 2014 PEMCO Poll, about 20% of adults admitted to drinking on their prom nights). Make sure your teen and his/her friends understand that – no matter what – you can be counted on for a safe ride home, whether you pick them up or pay for another ride home. Reserve questions for a time when you're both clear-headed.

Ready for some surprising prom stats? Check out this article that shows families spend around $1,000 for the big night – $324 on the "promposal" alone!

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