Another prom season is here. Since many of the attorneys and staff at Powell Law are parents of teenagers, we know firsthand the excitement of planning the big event. But as lawyers, we too often witness a prom night tragedy that could easily have been prevented. Besides picking a great date or dress, parents and teens should plan ahead to ensure safety, as well as fun, on prom night.
What parents can do
Parents, encourage your children to get a limousine instead of driving. This will reduce the chances of a teen driving drowsy and/or driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or over-the-counter medication. Additionally, talk about the risks and consequences of sex, drug and alcohol use, keeping in mind the school’s policy on alcohol and drug association and use.
Do you know the parents of your teen’s date? If not, contact them. Make sure that they are comfortable with arrangements for the night. Plan to meet each other to take pictures. Discuss after-prom plans and make sure all parties involved are okay with it. Avoid sleepovers or hotel room rentals.
The same goes for the parents of your teen’s friends. Discuss the need for locking up and inventorying all alcohol and prescription medication in advance. It reduces the chance of theft and takes the pressure off your teen from their friends. Host an after-prom party or late night breakfast for your teen and their friends. If another parent is hosting an after-prom party, parents have the right and responsibility to ask if they allow underage drinking. Underage drinking is illegal in every state.
What teens can do
Teens, you should start off your prom day with a good breakfast and lunch to keep your energy up. When you’re off to the prom, have your cell phone charged and with you at all times so you can get in touch with someone if you are in danger. When you are at the prom, never leave a drink unattended or accept a drink from someone else. If you have to leave your drink even for a moment, grab a new one.
Do not ride with someone who is fatigued or impaired in any way. If you are driving, drive on well-lit roads and make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Wear your seat belt. Seventy percent of teens killed on prom weekends are not wearing seat belts. At all times, know where you are and where you’re going. Make sure you also account for where your friends are, and that they and your parents know where you are.
If you are with someone who passes out, call 911. The fear of getting into trouble isn’t worth the risk of them dying. The most important thing is to trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable at all, something might not be right. That’s your cue to leave immediately.
The possible dangers of prom night don’t need to happen. If you are aware, and prepared, chances are your prom night will be one you’ll always want to remember, not forget.
Since 1906, our PA personal injury lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients in serious personal injury cases, including PA car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, PA medical malpractice, PA worker’s comp, slip and fall, product-related injuries and Social Security disability claims. Our PA criminal defense attorneys represent defendants in all types of summary, misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from drunk driving cases to major crimes in both state and federal courts.
Powell Law is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s oldest PA personal injury law firm. It was established by our grandfather, Attorney James J. Powell Sr., on the principles of honor, integrity and trust. For three generations, we have upheld those principles every day – in every case.
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