From the beginning of March until the end of May, there is an increased risk of auto accidents among teen drivers. Collision rates are always higher among teens than among adults, but this particular season is one of the most dangerous times for young motorists. The reason for the increased risk: prom season and then graduation.
The most obvious danger at prom time is the peer pressure to drink, which can lead to impaired driving. However, there are also other risk factors that make a collision more likely after prom. Passengers in cars with a negligent teen or others injured in a prom season crash can take legal action against the driver who was responsible. A personal injury lawyer in Phoenix can seek help at Israel & Gerity, PLLC.
Keeping Kids Safe in Prom Season
Research on prom night behavior shows that 70 percent of high school juniors and high school seniors expect that their peers will drive drunk after the event. It should thus come as no surprise that as many as 40 percent of accidents involving teens over prom weekends involve alcohol.
Schools have tried a variety of tactics to stop partygoers from driving drunk. “Zero-tolerance” policies for intoxication at prom are standard, and some schools even have breathalyzer tests available. Locking down prom venues so students cannot come and go, and organizing “safe” and alcohol-free after parties are also common tactics to prevent teen drinking.
Unfortunately, parents may be reinforcing the idea that drunken prom events are acceptable. A survey conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that one in 10 parents was OK with a teen attending a party where alcohol was served, as long as adults were present. However, adults who choose to allow underage drinking in their homes could find themselves legally liable under Arizona’s social host laws if the teens cause collisions after leaving the house drunk.
Parents should make clear that teen drinking is never acceptable, even if prom is a special event. Parents should also ensure they know where their teenagers will be after prom, and should find out the alcohol policy of any parents hosting parties. Renting a limo can also reduce the danger of a drunk driving accident, and parents should let their children know that they can call for a ride at any time.
While alcohol is the most well-known risk during prom season, there are also other potential problems as well. Frequently, multiple teens will drive together to prom. The more teens in the car at a time, the greater the chances of a distracted driving accident. Finally, a teen who stays out later than normal could also be at risk of a drowsy driving crash when traveling home. Parents should discuss driver safety with teens; should do a test-run of the prom route; and should consider imposing limits on the number of young people who can drive to and from prom in each vehicle.
Contact a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix at Israel & Gerity after your accident. Call 888-900-3667or visit www.ig-law.com to schedule your free consultation.