BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the end of April. The weather is finally warming up. And you know what means – it’s prom season, soon to be followed by graduation party season. And you also know what that means – an increased chance of teen drinking, driving, and tragedy.
Things have changed since I was in high school – schools are more proactive about preventing problems.
Some require breathalyzer tests before you can enter the prom. Others require students sign contracts pledging to obey safety rules. My town runs an all-night party for the seniors the night of graduation to keep them safe. And so on.
Teenagers are smarter about drunken driving these days too.
Since 1991 the percentage of high school kids who drink and drive has dropped by more than half, according to federal statistics. But still, nearly a million teens take the risk each year, and every spring, we report the grim stories of what happens to too many of them.
What’s to be done about it?
Many schools stage grisly crash reenactments to illustrate the risks, and local police do their best to supplement the warnings.
But ultimately, study after study shows the most powerful persuader is the parents.
Even if your teen doesn’t always show it, they look to you for guidance, want your support, and most care deeply about not hurting their family.
Make sure they know the potential consequences of drinking and driving, not just on them but on you and their siblings.
Make it known that their safety trumps all else.
And don’t forget to tell them you love them.
Hopefully, this will be the last you hear of this topic over the next month. That would be the best news of all.