It may be heartening to read the statistics stating that drunk driving deaths have declined over the past 10 years. But as of 2016 (the latest available data), a drunk driving fatality is still occurring every 50 minutes in the country. But of course, that’s just an average. We’re approaching junior and senior prom season, and that means a higher number of intoxicated teens on the road – driving at night, with limited experience behind the wheel. This is a deadly combination.

teen prom drunk drivingEven the most experienced adult driver cannot simply shake off the debilitating effects of alcohol on driving ability. Alcohol impairs hand-to-eye coordination, judgment, information processing skills, reaction time, and visual acuity. Teenagers who are inexperienced both as drinkers and as drivers may have no idea what their consumption has done to their skills when they get behind the wheel.

What can concerned parents do? Here are some suggestions from Brown Insurance Group:

Educate your teen – You don’t have to use scare tactics to enlighten your teenager about the realities of impaired driving. Just recommend some smart steps that every driver, young or old, should take in party situations.

Sign a parent-teen agreement – A parent-teen agreement on responsible driving habits is a smart step at any time of year. Here’s an example of an agreement you and your teen can sign. Individual insurers may also have their own versions of this agreement.

Host your own after-prom party – You can’t watch everything your teens do after the prom, but you can provide them with a fun, safe, alcohol-free after-party environment.

Double-check your insurance coverage – Damage to your teen is a lot more serious than damage to your vehicle. Now is the time to consider beefing up your personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.