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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Why prom and graduation are dangerous times for teens

Spring break is over for nearly everyone, but prom and graduation are coming up soon for millions of teens across Florida and the rest of the country. While these are times of celebration, they're also, for too many young people, occasions for too much drinking. When they get behind the wheel, the results can be tragic. About 1,000 young people under 21 die every year in traffic fatalities and other tragedies surrounding prom and graduation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that April through June are among the most dangerous months for teens. About a third of all teen traffic fatalities involving alcohol occur during this time.

Despite the fact that statistics like this have been out there for a long time, too many teens think the dangers don't apply to them. A Liberty Mutual survey found that only 20 percent of high school juniors and seniors considered being on the road on prom night dangerous.

The Automobile Association of American reports that 87 percent of teens say that they would be more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking than to call their parents for a ride. While it's understandable that they would assume they would get in trouble if their parents found out they'd been drinking, parents just want their kids to get home safely.

Even if you're certain that your teen doesn't drink or use drugs, almost three-fourths of high-schoolers have reported that they felt pressured to drink on prom night and half to use drugs.

Limo rentals and Uber are good alternatives for parents to discuss with their kids before prom night. It's also essential to discuss the dangers of getting in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Almost a fifth of teens say they have done just that.

If your teen still decides to get behind the wheel and ends up with a drunk driving charge, it may be tempting to let him or her face the consequences in order to learn a lesson. However, those consequences can follow them into college and beyond. It's essential for them to have experienced legal representation.

Source: Rehabs.com, "Alcohol and Drug Use on Prom Night," accessed April 25, 2017

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