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Drive Smart Georgia offers prom tips to keep teen drivers safe on the road

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Prom season 2014 is in full swing. Drive Smart Georgia wants to make it a safe one for local North Atlanta high school students. That’s why it headed out to Alpharetta and Chattahoochee High Schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 22 and 23, 2014 to sponsor events about making safe driving decisions during the dangerous prom season.

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This year, Drive Smart Georgia partnered with North Fulton Hospital to make the events even more memorable and meaningful for teens. During the prom-themed teen driver safety events, stations were set up to address dangerous driving behaviors and situations. Students were encouraged to take the AAA PROMise pledge to avoid alcohol, drugs and distracted driving habits.

Local businesses supported the event in a huge way. When students took the pledge, they were entered in to a raffle for prizes. Chick-fil-A, Cheeseburger Bobby’s, Chili’s, Carmine’s Pizza, Auto Bell and more made generous contributions to encourage students to take the AAA PROMise pledge.

“Our goal is to make high school students realize how dangerous it is to drive before and after prom,” explained co-owner Steve Jones. “Parents and students must establish a game plan and stick to it to ensure a safe night for everyone on the road.” Be sure to check out the above slide show to see photos of the Drive Smart Georgia prom safety events.

During the teen driver safety events, Drive Smart Georgia addressed the following topics:

  • Dangers of drinking and driving
  • Distracted driving dangers
  • Proper seat belt use
  • Typical injuries/treatment for driver-related injuries

Other schools and organizations are getting in on the act. As posted by Forsyth County News on April 23, Forsyth Central High School staged a Ghost Out on Wednesday. The scene turned serious when emergency workers and police officers swarmed the mock car accident on the football field. There was one fatality and two serious injuries. The event organizers tried to make it look as realistic as possible to get the students’ attention. According to Doug Rainwater from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, many of the students were visibly shaken after witnessing the alcohol-related accident. “A lot of times, kids their age think they’re invisible. Hopefully, this will make them think twice before doing something dumb,” he explained.

Even responsible teen drivers face additional dangers during celebratory periods like prom and graduation seasons. More than one-third of the year's alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur around prom and graduation time. Not only are teen drivers more likely to partake, but they're also more likely to drive in challenging circumstances because of the bad decisions of others.

Nerves and excitement, running late to pick up a date, showing off for friends, lack of sleep, or even wearing stiff-soled dress shoes or binding formal wear can tip the scales against inexperienced drivers. Teens should use extra caution when traveling on prom or graduation night.

If you have a teen driver in your own home, here are a few prom driving tips from Drive Smart Georgia for concerned parents.

  • Leave the car at home. Prom is all about glamor - and what could be more glamorous than arriving and departing in a limousine? Teens can split the cost with other couples, making it a more affordable option.
  • Limit passengers if teens must drive themselves. Limit passengers to just one other couple. Plus, set a curfew and stick to it.
  • Give your teen an escape plan. Even responsible teens can make mistakes. Make sure that your teen understands that - no matter what - he or she can call home for a ride. Reserve questions for a time when you're both clear-headed.
  • Look into safe post-prom events. After the last dance, give kids an alternative to un-chaperoned, alcohol-fueled parties. Many schools and PTSAs offer "Shut-Ins" at local restaurants and businesses.
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