April, May and June mean prom season for the nation's high schoolers as well as formals for those in college. Unfortunately, a poll done by Liberty Mutual also found that substance use is likely to increase as well.
For all the discussions between parents and kids when they get their license, and the admonitions of instructors during driving school
, roughly 90 percent of teens interviewed by the insurance company said that going to prom would mean a higher chance of them drinking alcohol. More surprisingly, about one in three don't see the issue here.
Maybe it means that at the moment, a lot of kids are worrying about who they are going to ask, if they're going to ask. Or maybe it means that they are worried about matching tuxedos and dresses and corsages. So, at the risk of being uncool, many parents might want to take a more active role.
While teens are only about a coin flip between choosing whether or not to follow driving safety rules, the rate increases to about two in three. The survey even includes a piece of advice for parents: teens are likely to feel more independent and think that you trust them if things are spelled out in a paper contract or something similar.
It's something worth considering, even if your adolescent son or daughter recently completed an online driving school or other training. For seniors, graduation is another period when they say that the propensity to drink is higher, just like prom. It's part of the reason that nearly 400 teens have died in alcohol-related crashes during May, June and July according to federal statistics.
Starting a conversation is worth it, according to data about teens' attitudes towards a variety of lifestyle choices. Those who say that they were able to talk to their parents in an open and honest manner were less likely to engage in underage drinking or drug use. Those factors directly influence their ability to drive safely.
So even if your child is just taking an online driving school
and hasn't yet reached prom or graduation age, it makes sense to start talking to them about these issues now. You can use the time that they take going through coursework to bone up on the rules of your own state, and to set guidelines for what you want to happen when they get in the car.
It's not an easy age for either side of the parent-teen divide. And it means adding another thing that could spark a potential fight. The data suggests, however, that you will have an impact on driving habits if you take the time to speak to your kids. And the statistics point to those who address these issues being much more safe on the road. Since safety matters most of all, maybe the slight risk of an argument will be outweighed by the grim facts that traffic accident experts constantly use to scare kids.