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Talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving; help prevent Massachusetts car accidents during prom season

A new survey shows drunk driving remains a serious problem among teenagers, despite efforts to educate kids about the dangers during Prom Season, the USA Today reports.

Everyone at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman encourages parents to have a frank conversation with teenagers about the dangers of drunk driving and other deadly driving habits as we enter the heart of prom and graduation season.
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Massachusetts car accidents involving young drivers killed 68 teenagers in 2008. Nationwide, almost 6,000 were killed and more than a quarter million were injured. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to a nationwide survey of more than 2,500 11th and 12 graders, 90 percent believe fellow teenagers are more likely to drink and drive on Prom Night. Nearly 80 percent think the same is true on graduation night. Nationwide, one-third of young people killed in car accidents had alcohol in their system at the time of the accident.

“Newspapers, television, YouTube and Facebook are rife with tales of tragedy from reckless driving on prom and graduation nights, yet an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude continues to be so pervasive among our teens,” said Dave Melton, of Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, which sponsored the study. “Add to the alcohol factor distractions like texting or talking on the cellphone while driving, or the greater likelihood of multiple people in the car, and the crash potential is very real.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is promoting “The Power of Parents: It’s Your Influence,” in an effort to encourage parents to talk to their teenagers.

Parents can help their teenagers make the right decisions during Prom and graduation season:

– Monitor your child’s activities and set clear rules and consequences for underage drinking.

-Acknowledge that the decision to avoid drugs and alcohol takes courage and can be difficult.

-If allowing children to ride in a limo, parents and passengers should sign a contract permitting the driver to notify parents if alcohol is present.

-Only allow registered passengers to be transported in a limo.

-Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age of 21.