2014-04-10 / News

State Police urge teens, parents to keep prom night safe

LAPEER COUNTY — Prom’s not cheap. According to a survey conducted by VISA last year, the average family nationwide spent $1,139 on the biggest nigh of a teenager’s year.

However, warns Trooper Cevin Brown, community service trooper at the Michigan State Police Post in Lapeer, prom night can be the most expensive night of a young person’s life in other ways.

“Students should know the consequences of underage drinking,” Brown said. “There are legal ramifications, but most importantly, you can get yourself or someone else seriously injured or killed.”

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, nationwide, 48 teenagers die and another 5,202 are injured in car crashes on a typical prom weekend.

“Prom is an exciting time for high school students and we want to encourage teens to have fun by making good choices,” Brown said.

He added, not only is it illegal for anyone under 21 to have alcohol in their system, but it is illegal for someone under 21 to have alcohol in their possession at any time, regardless of whether they’ve consumed any of it. The consequences of underage drinking can be an arrest for Minor In Possession (MIP) or for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) if a teen chooses to drive. Additionally, many employers, colleges and military recruiters take alcohol-related offenses into consideration when hiring or accepting applications.

NHTSA statistics show that 60% of teenage deaths in car related accidents nationwide are due to alcohol, making it the leading cause of death among people 15- to 20-years-old.

Statewide, Brown said, 69 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 died in car crashes last year. He added, highway fatalities in Michigan were up one percent over 2012.

Brown said troopers want “students to make smart decisions and take extra precaution to stay safe while celebrating.”

He added, adults also need to be aware they can be held financially and criminally responsible for providing teens with alcohol for prom celebrations.

State Police, he sad have some tips to help keep prom night safe:

• Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

• Abstain from sexual activity.

• Don’t drink and drive.

• Don’t get into a car with an intoxicated driver.

• Wear a seat belt at all times while traveling in an automobile.

• If hiring a limo service, make sure the service is properly licensed with the state of Michigan.

• Watch out for your date and others around you.

• Get directions to the location of the prom or other gatherings.

• Keep parents or guardians informed of your whereabouts.

—Phil Foley

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