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Tips for keeping your teen safe on prom night

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If you've got a teen who's going to prom this year, you're no doubt concerned about them being on the road on a night when some high schoolers will, unfortunately, be driving under the influence -- even though they're not old enough to even legally drink. Since proms are typically on Saturday night, when most fatal accidents occur anyway, the dangers are even greater.

All-night prom parties too often involve binge drinking. That's generally defined as having at least four drinks in short succession. Even if kids have one or two drinks at each party, that can add up over a long night.

In Arizona, minors (those under 21) can be arrested for DUI if they're caught driving with any alcohol in their system. Even if your child manages to avoid being pulled over, it's essential to understand that because of their lack of driving experience, teens are considerably more likely to be involved in a crash if they've been drinking than adults are.

You may choose to spring for a limo for your teen and their friends to keep them from getting in the car with someone who's been drinking. Perhaps that's what your parents did for you back in the day. Now, of course, there are rideshare apps that let teens order a ride to get them to and from their destinations. Make sure that your teen has an Uber and/or Lyft app on their phone.

Also be sure that they are vigilant about buckling up when they get in any car. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over half of all teens killed in car crashes didn't have their seat belts on.

Law enforcement will likely be out in force around high schools and popular prom venues on Saturday nights this spring. They may set up sobriety checkpoints as well. If your teen ends up facing a DUI charge, the consequences could follow them to college and even beyond. That's why it's essential not to let them face the justice system without experienced legal guidance.

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