Prom season can be one of the most exciting times of year for high school
juniors and seniors—and equally one of the most terrifying times
of year for parents. Many teens anticipate that they or their peers will
use alcohol or drugs on prom night. In addition, teens all too frequently
get behind the wheel while impaired rather than call their parents for
fear of getting in trouble. The combination of these factors can kill.
The good news: Many organizations and local communities have implemented
successful PR campaigns and safety initiatives like prom pledges to discourage
teens from engaging in drinking, drugs, driving while impaired and other
dangerous behaviors on prom night. Increased awareness of inherent dangers
serves as a powerful deterrent, keeping more kids safe.
What can you learn from initiatives that work? How can you protect the
ones you love?
What Is a Prom Pledge?
Sometimes also called a “prom promise,” a prom pledge is a
simple form teens fill out and sign. They pledge to abstain from drinking
and drug use on prom night; and they promise not to enter a vehicle with
an impaired driver. While certainly not binding, the act of signing the
form makes teens more accountable for their behavior, and less likely
to indulge because they feel the expectation to keep their word.
What Else Can Parents Do to Keep Teens Safe?
Make your expectations clear. Many parents assume their teens would ignore their admonitions, but surprisingly, a
survey by MADD reveals teens are 80 percent less likely to drink when their parents make
it clear that underage drinking is unacceptable. Reinforce this boundary
with a prom pledge.
Hire a limo for prom. When several teens go in together on a limousine, they can share the cost,
eliminating concerns about impaired driving. If you hire the limo yourself,
you can also instruct the driver not to make any unplanned stops.
Arrange for a cab or ridesharing (e.g., Uber, Lyft). If your teen knows a driver is available, she will be less likely to get
into a car with an impaired driver.
Set up a no-questions-asked ride. If your teen does break the rules and drink—or has no good options
for a ride home—encourage her to call you for a ride, no questions
asked. No teen should endanger her safety for fear of punishment.
For more helpful tips on prom safety, see our post on
Prom Safety Guidelines.
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys
can help if you or a loved one is injured in an accident. Call our office
to learn more.