Increase In Alcohol-Related Fatalities During Proms, Graduations


The video above is a mock crash from last year at the Pike County Fairgrounds that was attended by students from three local high schools. These types of demonstrations have become more frequently used around the country in recent years to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving during prom and graduation season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than one-third of people under the age of 21 who were killed in alcohol-related fatalities died during the three-month period from April to June that is considered prom and graduation season.

Many schools throughout Ohio offer school-sponsored post-prom activities designed to provide an alcohol and drug-free environment for teenagers. However, it is this time of the year when students will begin attending multiple private graduation parties, and it is not uncommon for alcohol to be present. It is important for parents to understand that if drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level over .02 can be charged with Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption (OVUAC). The punishments for a first OVUAC conviction may include a fine of up to $250, a license suspension of up to two years, yellow license plates, alcohol treatment, probation and a jail sentence of up to 30 days. In addition to having to wait a mandatory 60 days to get limited driving privileges, an OVUAC conviction can also enhance the penalties for any later drunk driving convictions.

While many parents appropriately discourage underage drinking during this time of the year to help prevent their teenagers from being involved in drunk driving motor vehicle crashes, it also needs to be noted that adults should not try to work around the laws by hosting parties that allow underage drinking. Some adults tend to think they can control the environment or prevent consequences by taking away the keys of guests, but as we will discuss on Friday, that logic can have legal ramifications for the adults as well as the teenagers.

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