For the fifth year, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. is advising parents and students of the dangers of drinking and driving during prom and graduation season.
"Prom and commencement season should be a time of celebration," Leone said in a statement. "But sadly, every year around this time, our office confronts tragedies because young people make bad decisions to drive impaired or to get in a car with an impaired driver."
Car crashes are a leading killer of youth age 15 to 20, Leone said.
"We are urging young people and those who care for them to pay particular attention to choices that impact themselves and others at this time, avoiding negative behavior which can result in tragic consequences."
Leone's office has coordinated with superintendents in the county to send a letter home to all guardians and parents of 12th grade students.
He is also scheduled to speak at Somerville High School May 3 to share with the graduating class his personal experience of loss when a friend was killed by impaired driving in high school.
Leone offered the following tips to parents for prom season:
Offer your teens transportation alternatives. Offer to provide your teen rides or to have a sibling or family friend provide rides on prom night. If your teen does not want you to pick them up, oftentimes suggesting a sibling or family friend is a great compromise.
If you are able to, hire or share professional transportation for your teenís prom night. Make sure you have a discussion with the driver prior to prom night about your expectations that the ride be alcohol-free. Sometimes these drivers will agree to purchase or furnish alcohol for their minor passengers; it is important to ensure that this will not happen by talking directly with the driver.
Provide your teen with the phone number of a reputable local taxi company and make plans to pay for your teenís taxi fare for the night. Remember, this is a small cost to keep your child safe.
Give your teen a cell phone or other mobile device to communicate with you directly throughout the night. Make sure your own cell phone or mobile device is with you during the evening to facilitate texts or quick calls to check in.