Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Prom Time

Prom season is here and with it local schools will be doing their pre-prom “shows”. These usually consist of a car crash re-enactment in the football field. There are students dressed as prom goers and moulaged to look injured or dead. The plot consists of a drunk driver student prom attendee crashing and killing someone while injuring others. I play the role of Coroner (not much of a stretch) and give a talk about my office’s involvement, reemphasizing that someone died because of this drunk driver. This is to convince the prom goers not to drink and drive (or ride with someone who is impaired) prom night and by extension all the rest of their lives.

These tend to be quite impressive extravaganzas with a lot of work involved by many people pulling it together and making it happen. I hope they work. I hope they make an impression, really I guess my hope is that they make an impression on the teens that would drink and drive and not only on those not likely to have done it anyway. One life saved would make all of them worth doing. However, we need to remember most teen deaths related to drinking and driving don’t happen prom night. The message to not drink and drive (and not to ride with someone who is drunk and driving) has to be out there repeatedly. It can’t be an attempt to scare the teens, which rarely works. The message must be educational, as well as hinged on the consequences. It seems most prudent to me to not just focus on the drinking, although that should be paramount, but also offering options to driving drunk and riding with a drunk driver. Not unlike many schools offering/forcing bus transportation to prom activities these days.

The pre=prom events are great, but they must be part of a greater program. We can’t just go home after the event and think that our “work” is done for another year.

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