The Coastal Post - June, 1997

Safe Graduation Celebrations

The California Coalition for Vehicle Choice (CCVC) is urging parents and students to take measures to encourage safe and responsible driving during prom and graduation night celebrations. "There is so much excitement surrounding these festivities, but all too often, families forget to plan for a key element of the evening-who will be driving?" said CCVC State Coordinator Anne Solem.

Government statistics show nationally that in 1995, nearly 1,600 teenage drivers who had been drinking were involved in fatal crashes. In the last 10 years, more than 250,000 people have been killed and millions more have been injured in automobile crashes involving drunk drivers. In California, 41 percent of all crashes were alcohol-related fatalities compared to 41.3 percent in the U.S. as a whole.

The Coalition is calling for students, parents and teachers to encourage and support safe driving efforts such as the Prom Promise awareness campaign. Local businesses and community leaders across the country are sponsoring alcohol-free prom parties or all-night graduation "lock-ins," places where entertainment and fun activities are provided throughout the night to keep teens off the roads and sober. Many young drivers fall asleep at the wheel trying to drive home from post-prom parties that don't end until early morning hours.

Solem suggested four simple messages to help make proms safe, fun and memorable:

Keep it alcohol-free.

Don't drink and drive.

No sleepy drivers.

Always wear your safety belt.