You have probably seen lots of fun and creative “Prom-posals” recently on social media. While, these posts get lots of clicks, and we associate prom with photo-ops and a right of passage during high school. Unfortunately, prom season typically brings a spike in alcohol-related traffic accidents involving young people.
Research from the insurance industry, The Partnership at www.Drugfree.com (formerly The Partnership for a Drug-Free America), and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) shows that 70-percent of high school juniors and seniors expect their peers to drink and drive on prom night.
The Good & The Bad
There is a positive side to this story. Teens countering peer pressure – real or perceived – to drink coupled with parent and child education, awareness, seat belt use, and the fact that abstaining from alcohol is perceived as cool by teens in many areas have all contributed to the overall decline of alcohol related accidents.
Prom season remains a fragile time, especially since it signals the start of the “senior slump.” The time of year when departing high schoolers begin to feel liberated from school and home. Moreover, they begin to wind down from academics, as they head towards graduation and summer mode.
During this time, some schools have felt compelled to administer random breath alcohol tests, lockdowns of hotel and school venues (once you’re out, you’re out), bloody mock DUI scenes, and even drug-sniffing dogs to ensure that dances and other chaperoned events are safe. However, it is at the unsupervised after-parties where underage drinkers can seek a better time.
Don’t Do It
Adults must step up and enforce a strict DO NOT SERVE ALCOHOL at events they are hosting. Many states impose legal liability of varying degrees on such “social hosts” who furnish alcohol to minors others than their own children.
During prom, however, some parents seem to think it is worth the risk to serve alcohol if it keeps kids at house and off the roads. A reason for this happening is that these parents remember drinking as a rite of passage at their proms, so they think it should be for their kids. These parents may allow kids to reserve hotel rooms unsupervised or believe it best to host after-parties at home and ignore what happens in the basement.
Ignoring the “after prom party” is never a good idea. Parents need to be involved and make sure their child has a safe and fun to go to after the prom. Every child deserves an opportunity to enjoy their prom and to make great lasting memories, but in a safe manner that doesn’t jeopardize their future.
We hope all prom attendees enjoy a great prom season. However, if something does not go according to plan, know that Miller & Wynn is here if you need us. Our locally-based attorneys, Mike Miller and Christopher L. Wynn, have decades of experience. Contact us for a free consultation at 770-942-2720 or visit www.MillerWynnLaw.com.