Graduation, a time for celebration and looking back on all of the accomplishments. Doesn’t matter if it is an high school diploma, GED, bachelors, Masters, MBA, Doctorate, there is a reason to celebrate after any of these accomplishments. Obtaining a degree also requires a certain responsibility, don’t let one night of celebration ruin everything that you have ever worked for.
Every year automobile accidents take the lives of nearly 3,000 teens in the 16-19 age group, and a quarter of a million more are sent to the emergency room. Death by car is the number 1 mortality risk for adolescents, and alcohol consumption is implicated in about 33% of these fatal accidents. The percentage of automobile fatalities that involve alcohol jumps from 33 percent to 40 percent on graduation night, which shows how drinking and driving spikes when young adults are in the mood to party. One-third of those under the age of 21 who die in accidents lose their lives during graduation season and not surprisingly, the vast majority of these young adults expire in car crashes. Many parents think their children have a good understanding about the risks of drinking and driving, but many still do it anyway. Only 25 percent of high school juniors and seniors polled in 2010 thought driving on graduation night might be a dangerous activity, even though 79 percent admitted that teens were more likely to drink and drive on that occasion. High schoolers feel as if they could never be that statistic or they have a lack of informative information about drinking and driving. Plus at the ages of 18 and 19, the brain hasn’t fully developed and matured. That is why adults always joke about the choices they made when they were younger, the matter of the fact is that it isn’t a joking matter. Those now adults and parents should be blessed they were not a statistic.
When it comes to college graduates on this issue, it is simply that they should know better. College campuses are a place where a lot of young adults are introduced to drugs and alcohol for the first time. After going through four years, young adults should know better on their graduation night. Even as adults, if a person thinks that it was okay to drink and drive in college and get away with it, they most likely will have the same attitude if they have kids one day or driving home from work. These habits can carry on for a lifetime just because people have it in their heads that “Well I lived.” Don’t let a DUI be a warning sign, try to avoid ever having one. With apps available these days such as Uber and Lyft and countless driving/transportation companies out there, there isn’t an excuse to drink and drive. If loved ones are coming out to be at their child’s graduation they should just offer them and their friends if they need a ride for that evening.
For the parents, make sure you have a talk with your children, even if they are graduating from college- remind them what it takes to be an adult. When talking to high schoolers, make sure not to scare them. Give them the facts, be honest, tell them that if they are caught up in a tricky situation later on that night, tell them you will pick them up with no questions asked. If you try to scare them, it will only make them want to do the things they shouldn’t be doing even more. It is upsetting knowing that these two months out of the year are the most dangerous for young adults, so take the necessary steps. Also inform your children that they should try to avoid driving all together if they can due to the other people out there that will be under the influence and driving motor vehicles. Sober graduation events are growing in number, as schools and parents’ groups do all they can to keep young people safe and celebrate in an alcohol-free way.
Remember, that graduation can be the best or the worst day of your child’s life. Be honest about the facts when explains to them but also understanding. There are ways to celebrate an achievement without resorting to alcohol!