INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The deadliest months for alcohol-related teen driving deaths are April through June, the window between prom and graduation season.
“The sad fact is many of these emergencies could have been avoided,” said Dr. Charles Miramonti, chief of Indianapolis Emergency Management Services. “A lot of what we see with motor vehicle accidents involves alcohol, traumas influenced by drug use.”
The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, Indianapolis Public Schools and other partners launched the “How Will Your Night End?” campaign this year through posters, presentations, social media and public service announcements.
“I think that’s hard to grasp that as you’re growing up, that the decisions you make today really affect your life and the life of those around you for years to come,” Miramonti said.
Students involved in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) helped to spread the message that choosing the right friends can make a big difference.
“Just surrounding yourself with positive people, positive activities,” said Alexa Morris, a senior in Madison County.
Indiana SADD just held its largest conference yet, with 40 high schools from around the state represented.
“Our SADD network is growing,” said Jamie Vickery, Indiana’s SADD coordinator. “SADD chapters are growing in numbers in individual chapters and in the number of chapters statewide as a whole.”
SADD members talked about what has worked to make their community safer. Many teenagers said the fact that it’s a student-run organization helps.
“Chances are someone else is going through the same thing and have gotten through it and there are people out there willing to help you,” said Macee Sandefur, a Frankton High School sophomore and SADD member.
There are things parents can do, too.
“Sit down and make a plan about prom night,” Vickery said. “Make sure you know where they’re going, what after parties they’re going to, make sure they check in and understand that there are consequences if they don’t follow that plan.”
Aside from saying “no” to drugs and alcohol, SADD encourages other smart decisions. Students bring the Quick Click Challenge to schools around the state. It’s a race to see who can buckle up the fastest.
“It shows students that in 30 to 40 seconds you can buckle your seatbelt four times, so if you’re twice as likely to survive a crash while buckling your seat belt, then you should do it every time,” Vickery said.