Safe driving experts attempt to curb Prom car crashes

It is high school prom season and many Boston parents are worried about the tragic car accidents that are characteristic of this time of year. Schools everywhere are ramping up efforts to stop drunk driving after prom. Some schools bring out wrecked cars, order breathalyzers, hire extra security officers (like ones certified through a qualified online security guard training), and require students to sign sobriety contracts.

The chairman of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) said that a combination of these efforts will likely pay off.

“I always say that there are a lot of tools in the toolkit that schools need to focus on,” he said. “I don’t think any one thing is going to make a huge dent, but together, they have a huge influence.”

One factor that can make a big difference in the number of teens who drive drunk after prom is peer pressure. The SADD chairman said that teens wildly overestimate how many of their peers are drinking. Many teens report that 95 percent of their classmates drink, but only 63 percent of middle or high school students say that they have tried alcohol.

Although this misperception may pressure teens to drink, the SADD chairman also notes that teens are receptive to peer pressure to drive more safely.

“Teen drivers say, pretty convincingly, that if their friends spoke up and said ‘don’t speed, don’t talk on the cell phone,’ they would be significantly less likely to do those things,” He said. “Most teen passengers say they wouldn’t speak up because they’d be embarrassed.”

The chairman said that parents and educators should empower students to speak up and encourage their classmates make the right decisions, and hopefully avoid becoming involved in another teen car accident.

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