The annual rite of spring is upon us and it brings loads of fun. Yes, it's Prom Time! Unfortunately, prom night and subsequently, graduation night far too often end sadly with a traffic accident that affect thousands of teenagers, their families and countless friends. Many of these traffic accidents involve drinking and driving. Spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and very often death are the tragic results.
According to Gary Pace, PhD, the clinical director from the May Institute's school for children and adolescents with brain injury, "Statistics reveal that eight young people die every day in alcohol-related crashes. Many of these deaths occur in the spring and summer months following prom night and graduation parties. And many of these fatalities are caused by traumatic brain injuries that, in most cases, are preventable."
Pace states those numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). His entire article may be read by clicking here.
Check out these related statistics and facts from the Centers for Disease Control.
As adults, we all know from personal experience how teens feel invincible. I remember as a 16-year-old telling my mother not to worry about me. "I'm not going to get hurt playing football." Or so, I thought.
Because of that sense of invincibility, many young people don't use their seatbelts. Studies show seatbelt use amongst teens goes down dramatically the later the hour.
If you're a teenager: buckle up, no matter the time of day, who's in the car or how far you're traveling. And please, please don't drink and drive, or get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
Parents: take the time today to have that talk. If you've already had it, have it again!
I hope both you teens and parents have a wonderful prom and graduation night experience. Make sure you get plenty of pictures. It will give you something to look back on in a decade, or two, or three and laugh about!
Have a wonderful and safe spring and summer.