Student is Killed on the Way to Her Graduation in Prince George, VA
It should be a happy time of year as students graduate across the country. But typically accidents spike as school ends for the summer. I was saddened to read about how tragedy struck early in the morning of June 6, 2015 when a senior at Prince George High School, near Petersburg, Virginia, died in a car crash. The 18-year-old was traveling north on Loving Union Road on her way to school to participate in her graduation ceremonies when her pickup truck ran off the road and struck a tree according to Prince George Police spokesman Capt. Brian Kei.
This horrendous accident reminds us that during our happiest times we must remain vigilant. Throughout graduation season schools try to help students with educational talks and programs showing the dangers of drinking and driving as well as illicit drug usage, although there was no suggestion that drugs or alcohol were factors in this tragedy.
A 2002 study revealed that 40 percent of teen traffic fatalities during the prom and graduation weekends were alcohol-related. Fatal car accidents, injuries, and assaults caused by underage drinking should not be a rite of passage for any child. According to the American College of Preventive Medicine, approximately 75 percent of adolescent deaths can be attributed to alcohol and other drug use.
Consider making a contract with your teen this summer
It is vital for the safety of graduating teens that their parents take the proper steps in these coming weeks. Parents often extend curfews for their children because they want them to have a good time, however, teen car crashes and deaths increase exponentially late at night. If you extend curfews, do not allow for large blocks of time when you do not know where your children’s whereabouts. Also if you allow your child to throw a party in your own home you must be there, not out to dinner with friends or in another part of the house asleep. Is anyone really surprised when a tragedy happens when parents leave their child totally unsupervised?
The amount of effort the schools put into safe practice awareness is commendable, but as Jeff Wolfsberg, an alcohol and other drug prevention specialist, emphasizes, parents also need to hammer home how their children should act because teens who normally would pass on drinking, drug use, or sexual behavior are especially tempted during the graduation season. Talk to them about drinking and driving, getting in the car with drunk drivers, and what they can do if something goes unexpectedly wrong. Research points to parents who discuss possible scenarios in great detail and seek their teens’ knowledge about what to do increase the chances of their teen actually doing what they suggest.
Above all it is essential that parents keep an open dialogue with their sons and daughters about the dangers in the coming weeks. If parents follow these suggestions they can go a long way in preparing their children for a wild and fun night that will not end in tragedy. However, the best-laid plans can be derailed by the actions of another person. Even if you drink responsibly and use a designated driver if someone else chooses to drink and drive you could still end up in an alcohol fueled accident. If something horrible does happen to you or your child one night because of the reckless actions of another, seek medical help immediately and then contact the law firm of Cooper Hurley at 757-455-0077 for a free consultation. When it counts, count on Cooper Hurley.