Archive for February, 2014

West Palm Beach Traffic Collisions: High Risk to Teens from Prom to Graduation

Traffic deaths are higher for teens during prom weekends than at any other time of the year. Prom weekends generally run from March 1 to May 21 and parents should be aware of the risks that their teens face during this time period. 

When a prom accident happens, the teen driver and his passengers are all at risk of injury or death. Other motorists could also be injured in the collision. Victims, including passengers, should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach for help understanding legal options. Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. can help.

Prom Season is a Dangerous Time for Teens

The Florida Department of Health discussed the risks teens face on prom night in A Prom to Remember. The DOH Office reports that there were no accident-related deaths on prom night between 2006 and 2011, in part because of 22 certified trauma centers around the state. These trauma centers have been able to more quickly and effectively treat teens involved in drunk driving crashes and other collisions, so fewer deaths occur during prom weekends.

While no fatalities occurred, it doesn’t mean the risks are any less real.  Teens have suffered injuries and have caused injuries to other motorists as a result of dangerous driving choices made after prom parties and celebrations.

The risks on prom weekends include not just the potential for teens to drive drunk, but also the dangers associated with having too many teens in the car. When a young teen driver has lots of passengers, the risk of accidents significantly increase. This is especially true if passengers consumed alcohol, even if the driver is sober. Young drivers can become distracted or engage in risky behavior to impress their friends, increasing the chance of a collision.

Schools are doing their part to underscore the dangers of bad driving choices on prom night. Channel 12 News indicates that Palm Beach high schools had special crash-reenactment events during prom season last year to give kids a firsthand look at collisions caused by both distracted and drunk driving. Similar programs are expected to take place as schools move into the 2014 prom season.

Parents, too, can play a role in reducing the accident risk. Safety Insurance recommends that parents:

  • Ensure their children have a fully-charged cell phone with them.
  • Make clear that kids can, and should, call for a ride at any time of the night, no questions asked, rather than getting into the car with a drunk driver.
  • Confirm the location of after-prom parties, and find out who will be there and whether there will be parental supervision.  A party that is not supervised is likely to involve alcohol and drug use.
  • Getting the complete itinerary before kids leave for the night.
  • Discussing the dangers that kids face on prom night.

With these tips, hopefully 2014 can be another prom season where there are no deaths in Florida.

A personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach can help accident victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit www.gonzalezcartwright.com  to schedule a free consultation.