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Make Grad Night a Safe Night


May 13, 2003 Release 03-056

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rosalie Thornburgh or Patrice Pomeroy, KDOT Traffic Safety
(785) 296-3756 or pati@ksdot.org

Make Grad Night a Safe Night

KDOT program seeks to raise awareness of underage
drinking and driving

Tassels, diplomas and speeches should be secondary on parents’ minds during graduation night. At the top of the list needs to be the realization that teenage lives are often at stake.

High School graduation is a memorable time for everyone involved. But when alcohol is added to the mix, the potential exists for crisis. All too often underage drinking is a planned or unplanned graduation night activity.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is asking parents to care enough about the safety of their teens and others on the state roadways to make the right call where underage drinking is concerned. It’s all a part of KDOT’s statewide Care/Call program – Care About Underage Drinking. Make the Right Call.

The objective of Care/Call is to make Kansas roadways safer for everyone. And where graduation night is concerned, KDOT is asking parents to not purchase alcohol for teens and to not host or allow teen drinking parties.

The consequences of underage drinking are well known. An underage drinker behind the wheel increases the chances of injury and death from crashes on local streets and highways. Property owners who knowingly or unknowingly host such parties are subject to liability should someone be injured as a result of a drunk driver leaving their property.

KDOT offers suggestions to parents to prevent their teen from drinking and driving on graduation night:

  • If offered, encourage your senior to attend Project Grad. Project Grad is an post-graduation event sponsored by parents to provide seniors with an alcohol-free environment to safely enjoy one last night with fellow seniors.
  • If your teen plans on attending a party, know where your teen plans to be. Obtain the address and phone number of the party host or hostess. Let your teen know you expect a phone call if the location is changed.
  • Contact the parents of the party-giver to verify the occasion and offer assistance. Make sure a parent will be present and alcohol and other drugs will not be permitted.
  • Know how your teen will get to and from any pre- or post-graduation party. Be available to provide transportation if they call. Be non-accusatory and respectful if they do call.
  • Set the time teens are expected to return home.
  • For parents who intend to host a graduation party, set ground rules. Discuss the shared responsibility for hosting the party with your teen and jointly plan party activities. Plan on supervising the party from beginning to end.

“KDOT wants graduation night to be a fun and positive experience to remember;” said Rosalie Thornburgh, Chief of KDOT’s Bureau of Traffic Safety. “Encouraging teens to not use substances that will compromise their ability to make good decisions is the best way to have a great time on graduation night.”