TUPELO – Authorities warn parents that prom and graduation night can go from dream to nightmare with one sip of alcohol.
Prom season has started in Lee County, and graduation will begin in May.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2000 58 percent of traffic fatalities were alcohol related during the prom and graduation period. This compares to 41 percent for the rest of the year. The report said the 2000 statistics were the latest ones.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said his department sees too many alcohol related incidents involving teens, on prom night especially. He said because parents tend to be directly involved with graduation, he doesn’t see as much of the problem then.
“Of all the activities that teens are involved in, prom night seems to be the most common one where alcohol use is widely involved,” said Johnson. “For some reason we just see a lot of alcohol related situations.”
Tupelo Police Office Maj. Jackie Clayton said like Johnson, his department sees much of the same thing.
“For some reason parents tend to give a lot of freedom on prom night,” said Clayton. “I’m not saying not to give your children freedom, but talk to them before they leave home about the dangers of drinking and driving. Kids drinking on prom night is an old story told too many times.”
Clayton said even though he hopes it doesn’t happen, there is a good chance that a young person will be hurt or killed because of alcohol use during the prom season.
Clayton also said that seat belt use should be a major point parents make to teens for prom and graduation night. According to the NHTSA 70 percent of teens killed on prom weekends are not wearing seat belts.
Contact Danza Johnson at 662.678.1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Danza Johnson/Daily Journal