08
March
2023
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17:00 PM
America/Chicago

Prom and Graduation Season is Deadly to Teen Drivers; AAA Offers Free Program to Schools

AAA urges Michigan schools to register for the free AAA PROMise program

DEARBORN, Mich., (March 9, 2023) — AAA is working with Michigan schools in an effort to prevent Prom and Graduation season from turning deadly on the road. The Auto Club Group is launching its annual AAA PROMise program which is an effort to prevent teen substance-impaired driving, as well as distracted driving.

"Prom and Graduation season is a rite-of-passage for teens, many of whom look forward to celebrating with friends where alcohol or drugs may be involved," said Adrienne Woodland, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "This becomes particularly dangerous when the party spills out onto the road. Unfortunately, that combination of impaired and inexperienced drivers often leads to a tragic end. That's why we're offering AAA PROMise, which is a multi-tiered approach at enhancing the safety of teen drivers and everyone else on the roads."

Here's how the AAA PROMise program works:

The teen signs the pledge banner and makes the following promise before celebrating Prom and Graduation:

  • I promise not to drive impaired or distracted.
  • I promise not to let my friends drive impaired or distracted.
  • I promise my parents I will get home safely or call them for help.

By making the AAA PROMise, the teen agrees to openly communicate with his or her parent/guardian regarding a plan for getting home safely on special nights such as Prom and Graduation.

Parents also have an important role to play by making their children feel safe about calling them for help. Parents can PROMise that they will always pick up their teen regardless of the time or location.

How Schools can Participate:

Public and private schools can participate in this lifesaving program for free by registering at AAA.com/Promise. They will receive a toolkit which includes:

  • Fact Sheets/Resources – Overview of the AAA PROMise program and useful information to make it a success.
  • Pledge Banner – used to gather each student's signature as a commitment to not drive impaired.
  • Drawstring Bags, a AAAPROMise keepsake, and more.

Last year, more than 300 schools participated in the program. The deadline to order is May 31st, 2023.

Lifechanging Consequences

Driving impaired can carry lifechanging consequences. Teens could lose their academic eligibility, driver's license, even their life or that of their friends. According to the CDC, Teens are more likely than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related crash (even though the minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21). In 2020, 19 percent of 15- to 18-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

According to a 2022 AAA teen survey, 30% of high school teens report it's likely they or their friends will be under the influence of drugs or alcohol sometime during Prom or Graduation season, and 82% believe their peers are likely to drive impaired instead of calling a parent or guardian for help.

Michigan's legal limit for blood alcohol level in drivers is .08 percent. For drivers younger than 21, it's .02 percent. That means teens can be charged with "operating while intoxicated" after having only one drink.

Advice for Teen Drivers

  • Pay Attention. Texting and having other passengers in the vehicle can create dangerous distractions for drivers.
  • Slow Down. Speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
  • Stay Alert. Prom celebrations can carry well into the late hours. Avoid driving drowsy.
  • Buckle Up. Half of young drivers who die in motor vehicle crashes are not wearing their seat belts.
  • Drive Sober. If you become impaired, pass the keys to a sober driver or call your parents for help.

Advice for Parents

  • Hire a ride. Limousines are not just for looks. Consider chipping in on a chauffeur so teens don't have to decide who's driving.
  • Set the Rules. Establish rules for your teen driver which address safe driving habits and the punishment for breaking them. Consider signing a Parent-Teen driving agreement.
  • Open your Home. Encourage your teen to ask friends to spend the night to keep them off the roads.
  • Be the Example. While driving, model the same behavior you expect from your kids when they drive. Your kids are always watching you, even if they don't admit it.

AAA in Michigan celebrated its 100th Anniversary - A Century of Service in 2016 and has over 1.5 million members across the state. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG). Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.