The most important part of prom-time preparations is a discussion on safe teen driving.
Posted on 04/11/2018
teen driving photo

Prom time should be a positive experience for your teen—one that he or she will never forget. Before the big event there is lots of excitement and so much to do. Top on the list is finding a gown or tuxedo, which groups will share a limousine, and of course, who will be the big date. 

But the most important part of the preparations come from you, the parent. Explain that prom night safety is a crucial part of the planning process, and that alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes are not necessary for a fun evening. Emphasize that safe driving is the top priority. Discuss the facts below with your teen and help them understand how crucial avoiding danger and making the choice for safety can be.  

Prince William Partners for Safe Teen Driving, a program sponsored by Prince William County Public Schools, is a community health initiative aimed at reducing the incidence of teenage automobile crashes, injuries, and fatalities in Virginia by assisting school divisions and communities to develop and implement local Partners for Safe Teen Driving programs. The program offers the following tips: 

  • On prom night, demand that alcohol not be allowed.
  • Make sure the vehicle your teen will be driving is in good working condition.
  • Limit the number of passengers your teen will be allowed to transport.
  • Get your teen’s promise, in writing, (PDF) that he or she will not text and drive.
  • Insist that everyone in the vehicle wear seat belts at all times.
  • Don't allow driving after midnight. Make alternative arrangements (chauffeur, car pool with other parents, taxis) if necessary.
  • If renting a limo, parents and passengers should insist that only registered passengers be allowed transportation.
  • Make sure your teen provides contact phone numbers where he or she can be reached.
Know the Facts:
  • Every day, car crashes end more teen lives than cancer, homicide and suicide combined.
  • Between 2011–15, there were 509 fatalities involving young drivers on Virginia roads, and 9,094 people were seriously injured.
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. during 2014.
  • Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a teen driver crash are people other than the driver.
  • Research has found that dialing a phone number while driving increases your teen's risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times.

Additional information is taken from the American Automobile Association’s Keys2Drive campaign, and the National High Traffic Safety AdministrationCDC Teen Drivers Fact Sheet.