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Prom night and alcohol should not mix: teen safety on the big night

Take a moment and think back to your years in high school. Many of us will agree that, during this formative period in our lives, friends' opinions had a great deal of influence over how we acted and what we considered 'cool.' Peer pressure can be a major issue for impressionable young people, especially if a student's peers are encouraging them to make irresponsible decisions like driving while intoxicated.

However, peer pressure isn't all bad; when teenagers encourage each other to make positive decisions, their friends are often more likely to pay attention than if told the exact same message from a parent or teacher. The chairman of Students Against Destructive Decisions describes how teenage drivers themselves have stated that if their friends tell them not to drive drunk, they are more likely to follow their advice.

Students Against Destructive Decisions believes that this strategy of positive peer pressure should be utilized to help prevent teen driving fatalities, especially as prom season approaches. Unfortunately, underage alcohol use is often associated with prom celebrations, and this year school administrators and road safety activists want to make sure that the number of drunk driving accidents among high school students remains as low as possible.

Some schools around the nation are addressing this issue by contracting security guards and police officers to monitor prom-goers and watch for underage drinking. Others have instigated new rules which require students to pass a breathalyzer exam when entering or leaving prom night activities.

The good news is that drunk driving prevention efforts over the past several years have delivered results during prom season, with only six percent of students reporting drinking and driving on the big night. Hopefully, this number will decrease even further this year, heading towards of a goal of zero alcohol related fatalities.

Source: US News, "Drunk Driving After Prom: Perception Vs. Reality." Jason Koebler, 21 April 2011

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